Iraq requests US troops. Maybe...

saigonThe Telegraph is running a wonderfully intriguing but frustratingly un-sourced story claiming that the Iraq government has requested US troops to stem the advance of ISIS:

Iraqi officials have issued a desperate plea for America to bring US ground troops back to the embattled country, as heavily armed Islamic State militants came within striking distance of Baghdad.

Amid reports that Isil forces have advanced as far as Abu Ghraib, a town that is effectively a suburb of Baghdad, a senior governor claimed up to 10,000 fighters from the movement were now poised to assault the capital.

The warning came from Sabah al-Karhout, president of the provisional council of Anbar Province, the vast desert province to the west of Baghdad that has now largely fallen under jihadist control.

The province’s two main cities, Fallujah and Ramadi, were once known as “the graveyard of the Americans”, and the idea of returning there will not be welcomed by the Pentagon.

While this has the whiff of truth about it, it is lacking in sufficient detail to evaluate it. That said, based on what we know of the effect of US airstrikes, according to ISIS and the Kurds, are not very effective. We also know that the scheme to produce a US proxy force in Syria will take two to three years to begin to show results… and it appears to be totally co-opted by al Qaeda.

As I pointed out earlier today, the options the Obama administration has for finding a ground component for its anti-ISIS campaign have shrunk to the point of a) no ground component or b) US troops.

The 1st Infantry Division already has one Brigade Combat Team in Kuwait and the division headquarters in Baghdad. By this time in November, the administration will either order American troops into combat or it will have helicopters evacuating the US embassy.