It will take a coalition of 50,000 troops on the ground to defeat the Islamic State, according to the former army chief of staff who spent more than four years serving in Iraq and who is credited, along with retired General David Petraeus, with being the architect of the successful 2007 troop surge there.
“Probably around 50,000,” said Gen. Raymond T. Odierno during a panel discussion moderated by Fox News for the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.
Odierno, who received the George P. Shultz award for distinguished service, emphasized the 50,000 would not all be U.S. troops, but the coalition would need to be U.S.- led.
While the general, who commanded all U.S. forces from 2008 to 2010, said he supports a unified country, he added the U.S. government needs to consider whether Iraq has already been divided into three sectors by the sectarian violence — Shia, Sunni and Kurd. Odierno fingered the newly emboldened Iran as a primary agitator.
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