According to officials from the Peshmerga, Special Forces of the United States have been waging a war on the frontline in Iraq against ISIS for the past several months. The Peshmerga represents Kurdish forces in Northern Iraq. The new report is expected to have major implications on the debate as to whether or not President Barack Obama should take more action against the terrorist organization following the attacks in Paris.
Following a series of attacks in France and Lebanon among other places, there has been increased pressure on Obama to adopt a more aggressive stance against ISIS in both Syria and Iraq. However, his promise of ending the war in Iraq was a main reason that he was re-elected president. Obama has insisted on multiple occasions that he would not send any ground troops back to Iraq, although he has sent up to 300 military advisers to the country.
The United States military has already denied the claims made by the Peshmerga, saying that there has not been any involvement from American Special Forces in Iraq since the original recall of troops. However, at least a dozen Kurdish fighters and commanders have supported these rumors. According to the Kurds, the United States has been participating in operations against ISIS in Iraq for several months.
Officials from the Peshmerga have stated that they have both photos and video footage of Americans combating ISIS in Iraq. However, they have not published any such material because they fear that they would be dismissed.
Earlier this year, American Special Forces arrived in the Iraqi city of Kirkuk in order to train, advise and support the Peshmerga forces who are fighting against ISIS. However, American officials have insisted that the Special Forces are only participating in a support role, and aren’t actually engaging in combat.
One senior commander of the Peshmerga said that four American snipers were used in a battle that took place in the southern part of Kirkuk. Other reports of American forces engaging in combat date back to April of this year.
The unnamed commander said, “The Peshmerga snipers were weak and before we could hit a single Isis sniper, we would lose a few men. Therefore we desperately needed American snipers. They had taken part in all the fights in south Kirkuk and they had really good snipers.”
The United States Central Command in Baghdad issued a statement denying these claims, saying, “No US or coalition SOF (special operations forces) were engaged in any of these events you listed. The coalition continues to support local partners through our advise and assistance role, but we have no reports of any coalition advise and assist teams becoming engaged during the actions you referenced. As US senior leaders have repeatedly stated, the US is not conducting a combat mission. We continue to conduct an advise and assist mission.”
Currently, about 3,500 American personnel are stationed in Iraq. If the reports from the Peshmerga are indeed true, then United States military officials and President Obama are being extremely dishonest about America’s current role in Iraq.