Date
23 September 2017
US Gen. Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, is not ruling out the possibility that he may ask President Barack Obama to commit ground troops to fight Islamic State militants. Photo: AFP
US Gen. Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, is not ruling out the possibility that he may ask President Barack Obama to commit ground troops to fight Islamic State militants. Photo: AFP

US ground troops possible in Iraq, says top American commander

The most senior US military commander said he will recommend the deployment of ground troops to fight Islamic extremists if the current strategy of airstrikes fails, the New York Times reported.

Appearing before a Senate committee hearing, Gen. Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said while he is confident the newly formed coalition of American, European and Middle Eastern governments could stop the Islamic State, he is not ruling out the possibility that he may ask President Barack Obama to commit ground troops to fight the jihadist group, the report said.

“My view at this point is that this coalition is the appropriate way forward. I believe that will prove true,” Dempsey was quoted as saying. “But if it fails to be true, and if there are threats to the United States, then I of course would go back to the president and make a recommendation that may include the use of US military ground forces.”

Obama has repeatedly insisted that no US troops would engage in the battlefield.

But Dempsey said: “His stated policy is that we will not have US forces in ground combat. He has told me as well to come back to him on a case-by-case basis.”

In his speech last week announcing the expanded campaign against Islamic State, the US president said the military advisers he was sending to Iraq would help Iraqi and Kurdish forces with training, intelligence and equipment.

“These American forces will not have a combat mission — we will not get dragged into another ground war in Iraq,” he stressed.

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