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morningfog

(18,115 posts)
Wed Aug 13, 2014, 03:27 PM Aug 2014

US ground troops land on Iraq's Mt Sinjar to evacuate trapped Yazidis

More than 100 US marines and special forces landed on Mt Sinjar in Iraq on Wednesday to organise an escape route for 30,000 Yazidi civilians threatened by Islamic extremists and worn down by hunger and thirst.

The force flew in on V-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft that can land vertically. They joined a small number of American special forces soldiers who have been on the mountain for some days, assessing the military and humanitarian situation and guiding US air strikes against Islamic State (Isis) fighters encircling the mountain.


A handful of British SAS soldiers are also in the area to “gather intelligence” a British official said.

Fleeing Yazidis have reported seeing small teams of American soldiers high on the northern flank. “We weren’t allowed to go near them,” said a man from Sinjar who was airlifted from the former base. “They were being guarded by the Kurds.”

The US ran a military and intelligence base on a now disused airfield at the top of Mt Sinjar for much of the Iraq war and the terrain of the rugged 45 mile ridgeline is well known to special operations units. The airfield could be used as one end of an air bridge to fly refugees to safety, if it is impossible to open a land route.

* * *

The White House insists that defending its forces against attack from Isis during an evacuation mission would be different from seeking out an engagement with the militants, which it is leaving to others.

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/aug/13/us-ground-troops-direct-role-evacuate-yazidis-iraq

So now, troops on the ground who engage in defensive combat won't actually be "combat troops on the ground." The WH is really painting itself into a political corner.
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US ground troops land on Iraq's Mt Sinjar to evacuate trapped Yazidis (Original Post) morningfog Aug 2014 OP
God bless them, I hope they stay safe. What brave soldiers we have. TwilightGardener Aug 2014 #1
Isn't this a good use of military personnel?... SidDithers Aug 2014 #2
It is disingenuous. morningfog Aug 2014 #4
It's a rescue mission. And we are wanted and needed. If we can help those people, we should. nt msanthrope Aug 2014 #8
do they really need for the U.S to fight their way through the southern route? bigtree Aug 2014 #20
Good. eom uppityperson Aug 2014 #3
Good....."target lazed" n/t EX500rider Aug 2014 #5
Good--I hope they all return safe. Hagel was at Pendelton, which makes me wonder if this is msanthrope Aug 2014 #6
IF the Pentagon is telling the truth about this operation, Maedhros Aug 2014 #7
That is the thing. I simply do not trust the Pentagon morningfog Aug 2014 #9
Whenever they use the word "genocide" I'm convinced they're lying to us. Maedhros Aug 2014 #10
Are you following what's been going on there? I think the word is apt. Comrade Grumpy Aug 2014 #11
They've cried wolf enough times now that if they happen to be right, Maedhros Aug 2014 #13
Apparently, USAID is landing with the Marines. nt msanthrope Aug 2014 #23
Agree Larkspur Aug 2014 #15
The problem with military operations any where near hostilities... Johnyawl Aug 2014 #18
I agree - the Commander in Chief is responsible, and my intention is not to absolve the President Maedhros Aug 2014 #22
If he pulls this off and gets out he will be seen as a hero. jwirr Aug 2014 #12
They're wearing sandals, though. egduj Aug 2014 #14
Good. I support this use of our military. conservaphobe Aug 2014 #16
Good, and I hope every one of those guys return safe and sound. Adsos Letter Aug 2014 #17
downplaying the route into Syria bigtree Aug 2014 #19
Finally n/t Kurska Aug 2014 #21
 

morningfog

(18,115 posts)
4. It is disingenuous.
Wed Aug 13, 2014, 03:41 PM
Aug 2014

There are humanitarian crises all over the world that we ignore or are complicit in. This is more mission creep in Iraq.

When the first deployment of advisers were announced and went to Iraq, it had nothing to do with the Yazidi. Even airstrikes were discussed as a strong likelihood long before the Yazidi took to the mountain. We have had a week of US airstrikes and now troops on the ground. The mission is expanding and we are getting drawn in to a war with ISIS, which they gladly accept.This isn't our fight. It isn't our country.

Setting that all to the side, every war the US engages in, even Bush's Iraq War is premised on "saving people."

bigtree

(87,757 posts)
20. do they really need for the U.S to fight their way through the southern route?
Wed Aug 13, 2014, 04:42 PM
Aug 2014

. . .when some 40,000 or more have been helped into Syria to the north by Syrian Kurdish fighters?

 

msanthrope

(37,549 posts)
6. Good--I hope they all return safe. Hagel was at Pendelton, which makes me wonder if this is
Wed Aug 13, 2014, 03:47 PM
Aug 2014

the Marine out of there.

 

Maedhros

(10,007 posts)
7. IF the Pentagon is telling the truth about this operation,
Wed Aug 13, 2014, 03:49 PM
Aug 2014

and IF it is really about evacuating the Yazidi, and IF there is no ulterior motive, then yes - this is an appropriate action to be taking.

However, the Pentagon continually and habitually lies, distorts and obfuscates, so we can't really know if this is really what is happening or if it is a fabrication of the Pentagon's propaganda division.

 

morningfog

(18,115 posts)
9. That is the thing. I simply do not trust the Pentagon
Wed Aug 13, 2014, 03:57 PM
Aug 2014

or the WH. I feel like this horrible situation is being used as the camel's nose under a new Iraq war tent. We'll see what happens after this operation. We've already been told the military action in Iraq will last months and we've already been prepped that the airstrikes are not weakening ISIS, but only slowing down and that they are adjusting.

What is our objective after this rescue? Is it to keep any and all other cities or towns in Iraq from falling to ISIS? Is it to just to maintain the status quo? Will it be to push ISIS back?

 

Maedhros

(10,007 posts)
10. Whenever they use the word "genocide" I'm convinced they're lying to us.
Wed Aug 13, 2014, 04:13 PM
Aug 2014

They haul that word out of storage whenever they need to gin up support for a war.

 

Comrade Grumpy

(13,184 posts)
11. Are you following what's been going on there? I think the word is apt.
Wed Aug 13, 2014, 04:21 PM
Aug 2014

And I'm not a big fan of US military interventions.

 

Larkspur

(12,804 posts)
15. Agree
Wed Aug 13, 2014, 04:26 PM
Aug 2014

And I think this story is true because Obama does not have the Congressional authority for a re-invasion nor do I think the taste for it. He can justify dispatching special forces to achieve the goal of evacuating the Yazidis, but not a whole army to bring "order" to Iraq..

Johnyawl

(3,205 posts)
18. The problem with military operations any where near hostilities...
Wed Aug 13, 2014, 04:31 PM
Aug 2014

...is the unpredictable nature of combat.

President Obama COULD be telling the truth as it exists today, and COULD really mean what he says. What happens once the boots hit the ground and the chaos of combat comes close to and possibly engulfs our troops, is that the truth will change and those plans go out the window. The old Calvinist proverb I learned as a child applies, "The road to hell is paved with good intentions."

And don't try to hide the President behind the Pentagon. The Pentagon's role is to prepare contingency plans for every eventuality. They have plans for escalating this conflict and rushing 10,000-100,00 troops back into Iraq. They will not do that unless the President orders them to. If this escalates it's not the Pentagon's fault, it's President Obama's.


 

Maedhros

(10,007 posts)
22. I agree - the Commander in Chief is responsible, and my intention is not to absolve the President
Wed Aug 13, 2014, 04:48 PM
Aug 2014

of his accountability for this action. I was pointing to a pattern of behavior vis-a-vis military operations spanning multiple administrations.

I also agree fully with your points regarding the unpredictability of outcomes in combat. I suspect that the Generals are counting on such a development. They've got to be smarting from having been yanked out of Iraq, and I can easily envision them thinking: "Just get our boys back in there - evacuation, humanitarian mission, whatever - then when things inevitable get complicated, we're back in the game!"

 

conservaphobe

(1,284 posts)
16. Good. I support this use of our military.
Wed Aug 13, 2014, 04:27 PM
Aug 2014

Invasions and occupations, not so much.

To be against any and all military action is ludicrous and frankly I discount the opinions of those who are the same way I discount the opinions of those who are for any and all military action.

Adsos Letter

(19,459 posts)
17. Good, and I hope every one of those guys return safe and sound.
Wed Aug 13, 2014, 04:28 PM
Aug 2014

If they have to kill a bunch of those ISIS fanatics along the way then so be it.

bigtree

(87,757 posts)
19. downplaying the route into Syria
Wed Aug 13, 2014, 04:38 PM
Aug 2014

. . . some 45,000 evacuated already into Syria by Syrian Kurds:

Syrian Kurdish fighters create safe passage for Iraqi Yazidis stranded for days on mountain

___ While the U.S. and Iraqi militaries struggle to aid the starving members of Iraq's Yazidi minority with supply drops from the air, the Syrian Kurds took it on themselves to rescue them. The move underlined how they — like Iraqi Kurds — are using the region's conflicts to establish their own rule.

For the past few days, fighters have been rescuing Yazidis from the mountain, transporting them into Syrian territory to give them first aid, food and water, and returning some to Iraq via a pontoon bridge.

The Yazidis, a Kurdish-speaking minority who follow an ancient Mesopotamian faith, started to flee to the Sinjar mountain chain on Aug. 2, when militants from the extremist Islamic State group took over their nearby villages. The militants see them as heretics worthy of death.

"The (Kurdish fighters) opened a path for us. If they had not, we would still be stranded on the mountain," said Ismail Rashu, 22, in the Newroz camp in the Syrian Kurdish town of Malikiya some 20 miles (30 kilometers) from the Iraqi border. Families had filled the battered, dusty tents here and new arrivals sat in the shade of rocks, sleeping on blue plastic sheets. Camp officials estimated that at least 2,000 families sought shelter there on Sunday evening.

The U.N. estimated around 50,000 Yazidis fled to the mountain. But by Sunday, Kurdish officials said at least 45,000 had crossed through the safe passage, leaving thousands more behind and suggesting the number of stranded was higher.

read more: http://www.startribune.com/world/270931601.html



. . . just a thought, is the U.S. government making this more difficult because of their conflict with the Syrians? It's a more difficult route, but it's less besieged than the south.


from the article:

Those towards the north had a means to walk towards Syria to escape, but he said the walk of at least seven hours was gruelling and dangerous as militants could reach part of the route. Those on the south side were more completely hemmed in by Isis militants.

The White House insists that defending its forces against attack from Isis during an evacuation mission would be different from seeking out an engagement with the militants, which it is leaving to others.

The Yazidi refugees who have managed to escape the mountain on their own continue to stream across the northern border into Syria, and then into Iraqi Kurdistan. The vast majority of those who have made it to safety have endured a seven-hour trek in grueling heat. Nearly all those to have escaped have done so from the northern flank of Mount Sinjar, which was cleared of Islamic State jihadists over the weekend.

The south, though remains besieged, with diplomats in Irbil and senior Kurdish officials acknowledging that efforts to clear the road of jihadists has failed. Masrour Barzani, the chancellor of the Kurdish region security council told the Guardian that 170 peshmerga forces had been sent towards the area in an attempt to reach entrapped minorities, however many more would be needed to safely bring them down from the mountain.

Officials at the Feshkhabour crossing from Syria say at least 1,000 Yazidis crossed into Kurdistan on Wednesday, adding to the estimated 40,000 who have made the journey since Sunday. Nearly all are now sleeping rough between the border and the city of Duhok, around 100km away.


This appears to me that they need to fight their way through the south and there's a proven route, however arduous, north into Syria . . . why not take that route?

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