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Battle turning against IS, says US Gen Martin Dempsey

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Battle turning against IS, says US Gen Martin Dempsey

Post by Neno on Sun Nov 16, 2014 11:05 am

15 November 2014 Last updated at 16:19 ET

Battle turning against IS, says US Gen Martin Dempsey
Video at link

Tom Esslemont: "This was an opportunity... to show America's support to Iraqi authorities"

America's top general has told US troops in Iraq that momentum is turning against Islamic State militants.
Gen Martin Dempsey, on an unannounced visit, called the militants "midgets" but said the battle against them was likely to take years.
The US has launched air strikes against IS and has more than 1,000 personnel in Iraq to help to train local forces.
IS controls huge areas of Iraq and Syria, though Iraqi forces have claimed victory in some recent battles.
The Iraqi army said earlier they had driven IS from around the country's largest oil refinery near the town of Baiji.
On Friday, officials said the military had also retaken Baiji, which had been under militant control since June.
The UN recently accused IS of imposing a rule of terror in some areas of Syria, characterised by public beheadings as well as widespread rape and torture of civilians.
Iraq's army claims to have retaken areas around the Baiji oil refinery
Baiji accounts for almost a quarter of Iraq's oil production
General Dempsey met US soldiers on his unannounced visit
Gen Dempsey, chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, flew to Baghdad for talks with Iraq officials, and to check on the progress being made against IS.
According to Reuters news agency, whose reporters travelled with him, he told a group of marines at the US embassy in Baghdad that US forces had helped "pull Iraq back from the precipice".
He said IS militants were not a force of 10ft tall fighters, but were instead "a bunch of midgets running around with a really radical ideology".
However, he stressed that IS could not be defeated by the US alone.
The fight could take "several years", he said, and would rely on the Iraqi government building trust between Sunnis and Shias.
Earlier this week, the general told the US House of Representatives armed services committee that the door remained open to sending US combat troops to help Iraqi forces retake the northern city of Mosul, which IS overran in June.
"I'm not saying I'm recommending that but we're certainly considering it," he told the committee.
The US pulled combat troops out of Iraq in 2011, ending an eight-year military intervention.
It left a small contingent of trainers, which it has built up to a roughly 1,400-strong group.
President Barack Obama recently authorised sending 1,500 more trainers.
The BBC's Hugh Sykes in Baghdad says any American troops engaging in combat with IS would be on the same side as a number of Iranian-backed militia groups.
Our correspondent says Iran has also claimed it prevented the collapse of the Iraqi state when it helped to protect the city of Irbil from an IS advance earlier this year.


http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-30067485


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Re: Battle turning against IS, says US Gen Martin Dempsey

Post by Neno on Sun Nov 16, 2014 11:36 am

Top US General in Iraq to Assess Anti-IS Campaign
BAGHDAD — Nov 15, 2014, 3:26 PM ET
By HAMZA HENDAWI and LOLITA BALDOR Associated Press



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America's top military leader arrived in Iraq on Saturday on a previously unannounced visit, his first since a U.S.-led coalition began launching airstrikes against the extremist Islamic State group.
The visit by Army Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, came just two days after he told Congress that the United States would consider dispatching a modest number of American forces to fight with Iraqi troops against the extremist group.
The Iraqi military and security forces, trained by the U.S. at the cost of billions of dollars, melted away in the face of the group's stunning offensive this summer, when it captured most of northern and western Iraq, including the country's second-largest city Mosul.
Dempsey said Thursday that Iraqi forces were doing a better job now, although an effort to move into Mosul or to restore the border with Syria would require more complex operations.
He also told the U.S. House Armed Services Committee that America has a modest force in Iraq now, and that "any expansion of that, I think, would be equally modest."
"I just don't foresee a circumstance when it would be in our interest to take this fight on ourselves with a large military contingent," he said.
Dempsey's spokesman, Air Force Col. Ed Thomas, said the general planned to visit U.S. troops, commanders and Iraqi leaders. "The primary purpose of his visit is to get a firsthand look at the situation in Iraq, receive briefings, and get better sense of how the campaign is progressing."
The visit included talks in Baghdad with Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi and U.S. Ambassador Stuart E. Jones, Thomas said.
Dempsey later flew to Irbil, capital of Iraq's largely autonomous northern Kurdish region, where he met with Kurdish President Massoud Barzani.
Dempsey also visited the U.S. joint operations center in Irbil, got a briefing on the Kurdish offensive against the Islamic State group and held a town hall with deployed troops there, Thomas said.
The Pentagon has plans to establish an expeditionary advise and assist center in Irbil where U.S. troops will provide assistance to Iraqi forces at the brigade and higher levels. The U.S. also is planning to set up a training site near Irbil.
According to plans laid out last week, the U.S. expects to train nine Iraqi security forces brigades and three Kurdish Peshmerga brigades.
Dempsey's visit to Iraq comes a day after Iraqi forces drove Islamic State militants out of a strategic oil refinery town north of Baghdad, scoring their biggest battlefield victory yet.
On Saturday, state television said government forces were in full control of the refinery, Iraq's largest, which lies some 20 kilometers (15 miles) north of the town of Beiji.
The loss of Beiji marks the latest in a series of setbacks for the jihadi group, which has lost hundreds of fighters to U.S.-led coalition airstrikes in Iraq and Syria, particularly in the group's stalled advance on the Syrian town of Kobani. On Friday, activists there reported significant progress by the town's Kurdish defenders.
Meanwhile on Saturday, two parked car bombs exploded minutes apart north of Baghdad, targeting a security checkpoint, authorities said. The attack killed nine people and wounded 32, according to police and hospital officials.
Later, a booby-trapped house in northern Baghdad blew up as a joint army and police force searched it for weapons, killing five and wounding 10, according to hospital and police officials.
The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to brief journalists.
———
Baldor reported from Washington. Associated Press writer Bram Janssen in Irbil, Iraq contributed to this report.

http://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory/top-us-general-iraq-amid-airstrike-campaign-26934139


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Re: Battle turning against IS, says US Gen Martin Dempsey

Post by Neno on Sun Nov 16, 2014 11:40 am

Gen. Dempsey Tells Troops in Iraq Battle Against ISIS 'Starting to Turn'

Clink link below for video
http://player.theplatform.com/p/2E2eJC/nbcNewsOffsite?guid=nn_ren_isis_141114

BAGHDAD — The United States' top military officer told American troops on a surprise visit to Baghdad on Saturday that the momentum in the battle with ISIS was "starting to turn", but predicted a drawn-out campaign lasting several years. General Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, was visiting Iraq for the first time since President Barack Obama responded to ISIS advances this summer by ordering troops back into a country they left in 2011.
Hours earlier, an Iraqi army colonel said security forces appeared close to retaking the country's biggest refinery at Baiji, which has been under siege for months by Islamic State militants. Obama last week authorized roughly doubling the number of American ground forces in Iraq as the military expands the reach of its advisers after slowing the militants' advances with U.S. airstrikes. Dempsey told the troops the U.S. military had helped Iraqi and Kurdish forces "pull Iraq back from the precipice".
"And now, I think it's starting to turn. So well done," Dempsey told a group of Marines at the U.S. embassy in Baghdad. ISIS has captured swathes of territory in both Iraq and Syria, where the United States is also conducting air strikes with its allies in pursuit of Obama's declared objective to "degrade and destroy" the militants.

Phil Stewart / Reuters
U.S. Army General Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, speaks with soldiers in Iraq on Nov. 15. The top U.S. military officer, General Dempsey, arrived on Saturday in Baghdad on an unannounced visit to meet U.S. commanders preparing to increase American assistance to Iraqi and Kurdish forces battling ISIS militants.

http://www.nbcnews.com/storyline/isis-terror/gen-dempsey-tells-troops-iraq-battle-against-isis-starting-turn-n249236


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Re: Battle turning against IS, says US Gen Martin Dempsey

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