For some time now U.S. officials have said that even though the end of the war against the Islamic State may be in sight, U.S. troops should stay in Iraq.
|In recent remarks by Lt. Gen. Stephen Townsend he said that he hoped that the city of Mosul would be liberated from Islamic State control before the next U.S. troop rotation, but that U.S. troops should stay. Townsend insisted that the troops would need to stay long after the war against the IS in Iraq was over in order to arm and train Iraq's military. This view fits in with what Pentagon officials have claimed, that the rise of IS between the end of U.S. occupation in 2011 and 2014 when some U.S. troops and air support returned was due to the lack of U.S. ground troops in Iraq in spite of the fact that the U.S. had trained the Iraqi military and had a presence in Iraq for years. Townsend said that since mid-October last year the Iraqi army had had lost more than one thousand troops with about another 5,000 wounded. Only two U.S. soldiers had been killed during the same period. Townsend was addressing Fort Bragg troops.|
"The Iraqi government has plans and strategies to develop the capabilities of our security forces through training and arming to raise their readiness to face the challenges ahead"... It is open to all international expertise to meet the aspirations of Iraq to build military institutions and security apparatuses that enjoy full readiness to face any future security challenges, whether external or internal and in accordance with the requirements of Iraqi national sovereignty."