President Barack Obama is sending another 350 troops to Iraq, adding to the over 1,000 already sent this year. The Pentagon claims “These additional forces will not serve in a combat role,” and are there to help with securing diplomats. The piece meal approach to sending in troops is starting to add up with no definitive time table or troop amount given by the Obama Administration. How long can Obama keep saying there won’t be “boots on the ground in Iraq” when he keeps putting boots on the ground in Iraq? How many soldiers before it starts to count?
The additional forces come as the US continues its bombing campaign in Iraq which has led to ISIS killing another American, Steven Sotloff. Sotloff was, like James Foley, a freelance journalist who worked for numerous outlets and worked throughout the Middle East including Syria where he was captured by ISIS. Sotloff was killed as part of ISIS’ pledge to retaliate against American citizens for the US bombing campaign against ISIS forces in Iraq.
A new video appears to show the execution of Steven Sotloff, the second American killed by a self-professed member of the Islamist terror group ISIS. In the video, which appeared online today, Sotloff addresses the camera, saying, “I’m sure you know exactly who I am by now and why I am appearing.”
“Obama, your foreign policy of intervention in Iraq was supposed to be for preservation of American lives and interests, so why is it that I am paying the price of your interference with my life?” the journalist says calmly as the black clad militant holds a knife casually at his side.
Intelligence officials now say they believe the video is authentic making Sotloff the second American ISIS has killed so far in retaliation for US airstrikes in Iraq.
Though there may be other journalists or aid workers that ISIS can grab in Syria it is unlikely they can do much damage elsewhere in the world. ISIS is a heavily limited militant group that originated in Jordan and has moved opportunistically throughout the region from Syria to Iraq. That ISIS poses a threat, let alone as Secretary Hagel has claimed an “imminent threat”, is a highly problematic claim. It is an army fighting for territory to maintain the caliphate it declared in parts of Iraq and Syria with a force of roughly 10,000. The current home for ISIS in the Sunni parts of Iraq and Syria is likely the best it can do though getting into a war with the US is sure to increase its recruits and popularity.