US Could Send Ground Forces to Fight IS

US Could Send Ground Forces to Fight ISUS Could Send Ground Forces to Fight IS

US ground forces could be deployed against Islamic State (IS) militants if the current US-led strategy fails, top US General Martin Dempsey has said.

President Barack Obama has repeatedly said that US ground troops would not have a combat mission in Iraq under the strategy outlined last week.

The US earlier carried out its first air strike under the strategy, which seeks to “degrade and destroy” IS.

The militants control huge areas of Syria and Iraq.

Gen Dempsey said that he believed that an international coalition against IS was currently the “appropriate way forward”, the BBC reported.

However, he said “if that fails to be true, and 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”.

He confirmed that under the current plan, US military advisers would help the Iraqi army to plan attacks against IS.

He added that in certain instances, US advisers could accompany Iraqi troops.

“To be clear, if we reach the point where I believe our advisers should accompany Iraqi troops on attacks against specific Isil [Islamic State] targets, I will recommend that to the president,” he said.

“Given a coalition of capable, willing regional and international partners, I believe we can destroy Isil in Iraq, restore the Iraqi-Syrian border, and disrupt Isil in Syria” he added.

General Dempsey was testifying alongside defense secretary Chuck Hagel at the Senate Armed Services Committee.

“We are at war with Isil, as we are with al-Qaeda”, Hagel said.

On the US strategy for dealing with the group he said: “This plan includes targeted actions against Isil safe havens in Syria, including its command and control, logistics capabilities, and infrastructure.”

 Heckled by Anti-War Protesters  

Both men were heckled by anti-war protesters inside the chamber.

When Hagel began his opening statement before the Senate Armed Services Committee Tuesday, he was immediately interrupted by a Code Pink protestor holding a pink protest sign chanting, “No more war, no military solution!”

And before Hagel could finish his testimony, several more protestors crashed the proceedings, yelling, “Don’t drag us into another war....” and “You’re just breeding extremism...

 Al-Qaeda Urges Militant Groups to Unite

Meanwhile, Al-Qaeda has urged militant groups in Iraq and Syria to put their differences aside and unite against a US coalition which will strike against the Islamic State (IS). There are reports that IS has gone underground following the US airstrike announcement.

Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula and Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb made a rare joint plea to militant organizations, which was posted online.

“Stop the infighting between you and stand as one rank against America’s campaign and that of its satanic alliance that lies in wait for all of us, to break us stick by stick,” they stated, according to Reuters.