Obama Sends 350 Troops to U.S. Embassy in Iraq
President Barack Obama is planning to send 350 troops to the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad and its surrounding facilities amid the growing threat of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, known as ISIL or ISIS.
The White House announced in a statement Tuesday about the troop increase following the confirmation of a second U.S. journalist, Steven Sotloff, beheaded by ISIS.
The State Department had asked for the military personnel increase to protect diplomats and staff in Baghdad. After the request was also recommended by the Department of Defense, more troops were sent.
According to the statement, the soldiers on the ground "builds upon previous embassy security deployments announced on June 15 and June 30 and will bring the total forces responsible for augmenting diplomatic security in Iraq up to approximately 820."
Most of the troops sent are from the Army as well as some Marines. President Obama was said to approve sending these troops to Iraq on Tuesday and assured they will not take a combat role while overseas.
Currently, U.S. troops' presence in Iraq is more than 1,000 with this latest addition, over 800 of which are located in the Iraqi capital.
Pentagon Press Secretary Rear Adm. John Kirby said in a statement that in reality there will be more than 350 people sent to the embassy in Baghdad.
"The additional joint forces will come from within the U.S. Central Command area of operations and will include a headquarters element, medical personnel, associated helicopters, and an air liaison team," Kirby said. "In all, 405 U.S. military personnel will be sent to Baghdad to provide a more robust and sustainable security presence to help the Department of State continue their critical mission."
There will also be an additional 55 military personnel that will rotate out of Iraq, but will remain in the region. Kirby said they are needed to "deal with other security contingencies" in the area.