22:30 GMT17 January 2021
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    Iraqi Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi does not want to see more American troops in his country so the US military is unlikely to expand the scope of its new marine firebase in Makhmour, former US Assistant Secretary of Defense Lawrence Korb told Sputnik.

    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — The Defense Department announced that it had established a new firebase in Iraq outside Mosul, shortly after a US marine was killed during an Islamic State rocket attack over the weekend.

    "Abadi has been pretty adamant about not wanting a lot of American troops," Korb told Sputnik on Monday. "So I don’t think you are going to see significantly more [US troops]."

    The new US marine base in Iraq, Korb suggested, will not go beyond force protection and defensive measures because the struggle against the Islamic State cannot be seen as the West versus Islam.

    "It’s really up to them [the Iraqis], because even if we were to go in and send 25,000 or 35,000 troops in and retake Mosul. Then what?" Korb asked. "We have to leave some time."

    Korb noted that the US marines will support Iraqi security forces as they try to take Mosul back from the Islamic State, but even if they are successful, that would be only chapter one of the battle.

    The former senior Defense Department official warned we need to remember that 1,000 Islamic State fighters defeated an Iraqi security force in Mosul once that was 35,000 strong that the United States had invested $25 billion to train and equip.

    Earlier on Monday, Operation Inherent Resolve spokesman Col. Steve Warren told reporters that US marines deployed to the firebase in northern Iraq are supposed to be stationed there temporarily, but will stay as long as their capabilities are required.

    The Islamic State, also known as Daesh, is a designated terrorist group that has taken large areas of land in Iraq and Syria, where it proclaimed a caliphate. The terror group is outlawed in the United States, Russia and in several other countries.


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