Report: ISIS Eager to Confront US Ground Troops in Iraq

Washington, DC

The Islamic State (IS/ISIS/ISIL) is eager to confront U.S. forces on the ground in Iraq, reports Al-Monitor.

ISIS is calling for direct confrontation with U.S. ground troops on Muslim territory.

The jihadist group “appears to be planning, or hoping, to challenge the United States in a ground fight in the vast areas of Iraq and Syria,” notes Al-Monitor. “IS believes that no matter how strong and numerous U.S. regular forces are, they will not be able to win against its trained irregular fighters who have been confronting Iraqi forces in northwestern Iraq.”

ISIS “wants a repeat of the battle of Fallujah in 2004, when the United States failed to overwhelm the militia fighters in the city and lost a number of Marines before retreating,” adds the article. “With the quantitative and qualitative progress it has made, IS envisions causing even greater losses among U.S. troops.”

Direct confrontation between American forces and ISIS would legitimize the jihadist group’s propaganda portraying the war as a testament to the ongoing Western crusade against Islam, according to Al-Monitor.

“This could help the group mobilize more supporters in majority Muslim countries and among Muslim communities in the West,” warns the article. “It could also help expand the combat zone by activating IS cells to carry out attacks in the West and eventually lead Western states to withdraw from the region, enabling IS to impose its will.”

Deploying additional U.S. troops to the ground may also result in confrontation with Iranian-backed Shiite militias currently fighting in Iraq, points out Al-Monitor. Iraqis who align themselves with Iran are opposed to the presence of U.S. ground troops in Iraq.

“No quick or definitive solution to the problem of IS appears to be on the horizon,” concludes Al-Monitor. “The eventual resolution of the crisis must, however, involve some sort of agreement among regional powers and the U.S.-led international coalition. Meanwhile, the United States sending ground troops to Iraq unilaterally will likely only contribute to deepening and expanding the chaos.”

The Obama administration has repeatedly said there will be no ground combat role for American troops in the fight against ISIS in Iraq and Syria.

Obama’s war proposal submitted to Congress bars the use of “enduring offensive ground combat operations” against ISIS.

Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told a congressional panel on Wednesday that he would consider using U.S. ground troops against ISIS in Iraq and Syria if necessary.

However, a spokesman for Dempsey said the chairman’s comments were “hypothetical.”

A U.S.-led coalition has been launching airstrikes against ISIS targets in Iraq since August 2014 and in Syria since last September. There is a U.S.-led advise and assist mission underway in Iraq involving U.S. troops on the ground.