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posted on 06 November 2016

The U.S. Military's Gradual Return To Iraq

by Felix Richter,

-- this post authored by Niall McCarthy

The United States has been quietly and steadily expanding its military footprint in Iraq since ISIS overran swathes of the country in 2014.

A contingent of 300 troops was deployed to defend Baghdad in the aftermath of the ISIS offensive and that number has grown ever since. Even though the Pentagon claims the majority of the troops have been training and advising Iraqi security forces and Kurdish Peshmerga forces, American units are now finding themselves closer than ever to the front lines.

American special forces have been conducting offensive operations against the militants for years and by October 2014, Apache attack helicopters were also sent into action near Fallujah. By the summer of 2015, U.S. artillery was operating on the ground with the number of military personnel in the country reaching 3,500. As the Iraqi army and Kurdish Peshmerga forces prepared for the assault on Mosul, President Obama announced that a further 600 U.S. troops would be sent to Iraq, taking the number deployed there passed the 5,000 mark.

That's a fraction of the 170,000 deployed at the height of the Iraq War in 2007 but it's still solid evidence of mission creep. Just last week, a member of the U.S. Navy was killed by an improvised explosive device in northern Iraq. The reality of the situation is that American soldiers are fighting and dying once again on the ground in Iraq with casualties likely to increase even further in line with the expanding military presence.

This chart shows the number of U.S. armed forces personnel in Iraq.

Infographic: The U.S. Military's Gradual Return To Iraq | Statista

You will find more statistics at Statista.

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