Here we go again – sort of.
With no discernable borders between Iraq and Syria, Special Operations is once again being thrown into the breach assisting the Iraqis to gain control of their own homeland. Syria is added into the mix this time, but hopefully, it will be a one off.
It’s the wishful thinking anyway.
Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter announced a broad strategy recently during a speech at Fort Campbell where conventional and Special Operations Forces will help Iraqi and Kurdish Peshmerga forces retake Mosul – again, and help moderate forces within Syria oust Islamic State militants from Raqqa.
According to Carter roughly 200 operators will be part of the effort to stabilize the region – 50 of whom will operate within Syria.
I know Special Operators are an immense force multiplier, but we are asking a lot of a small group of men – again.
DoD says the militants have lost 40 percent of the territory they once held in Iraq, and 20 percent of their territory in Syria with the help of American power. The Kurdish troops in northern Iraq deserve a lot of the credit for the winnowing of territory while the US tries to build up the Iraqi Army forces – again.
Building up the Iraqi Army forces has always been difficult because of their institutional corruption. Officers who take their enlisted soldiers’ salaries don’t exactly breed camaraderie.
We’ll see how this new strategy plays out, we will take back the territory, the operators will persevere, but if we are not in it for the long haul, it’s no strategy at all.