U.S. quietly rushes missiles, drones to Iraq

In an ad hoc response to al-Qaida insurgency, U.S. sends military aid at P.M. al-Maliki's request

By Natasha Lennard
Published December 26, 2013 5:21PM (EST)

In what can be seen as a reflection of Iraq's beleaguered state a decade since the U.S.'s invasion, the U.S. this week rushed dozens of Hellfire missiles and surveillance drones to the country to combat a burgeoning al-Qaida insurgency.

Iraqi prime minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki reportedly asked President Obama for the military aid to combat extremist Muslim groups gaining territory in the embattled nation. As the New York Times noted Thursday, the piecemeal response to renewed al-Qaida efforts has brought greater scrutiny upon the Obama administration's claims that the Iraq War had resolved to a “responsible end”:

[S]ome military experts question whether the patchwork response will be sufficient to reverse the sharp downturn in security that already led to the deaths of more than 8,000 Iraqis this year, 952 of them Iraqi security force members, according to the United Nations, the highest level of violence since 2008...

The surge in violence stands in sharp contrast to earlier assurances from senior Obama administration officials that Iraq was on the right path, despite the failure of American and Iraqi officials in 2011 to negotiate an agreement for a limited number of United States forces to remain in Iraq.


Natasha Lennard

Natasha Lennard is an assistant news editor at Salon, covering non-electoral politics, general news and rabble-rousing. Follow her on Twitter @natashalennard, email nlennard@salon.com.

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Related Topics ------------------------------------------

Al-qaida Drones Iraq Iraq War Middle East Missiles War On Terror