10:24 GMT +323 May 2018
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    US soldiers prepare to participate in a training mission with Iraqi Army soldier, right, outside Baghdad, Iraq. (File)

    Iraq Cringes Over Extra US Troop Deployments Ahead of Battle for Mosul

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    The presence of foreign troops is an understandably combustible issue for Iraq, according to the report of the private intelligence firm Soufan Group.

    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — The additional 560 US forces being sent to Iraq will remain hidden from public view given that much of the population blames foreign — and especially US military intervention — for creating and strengthening the terrorist group, the private intelligence firm Soufan Group said in a report on Tuesday.

    "The presence of foreign troops is an understandably combustible issue for Iraq; the scars of past battles are, for many Iraqis, equal to current battles against the Islamic State," the report stated.

    There is a sizable percentage of Iraqis, the report noted, who believe "the US and other foreign powers are in some way supporting the Islamic State as a disruptive wedge against a stable Iraq."

    Even with the latest deployment announced by Department of Defense Secretary Ashton Carter on Monday, total US troop strength in Iraq is unlikely to exceed 6,500, the report explained.

    Most foreign troops, specifically US forces, will be stationed at remote bases and "largely kept out of public sight and mind."

    Washington’s strategy is to use small and incremental deployments of US troops, leaving most ground combat operations to local forces such as Kurdish troops approaching Mosul from the north and Iraqi Security Forces from the south.

    The Islamic State, also known as Daesh in Arabic, has controlled Iraq’s second largest city of Mosul for the past two years.

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    Tags:
    war on terror, Daesh, Soufan Group, Mosul, Iraq, United States
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