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From the Guardian
It remains unclear how over 450 additional troops would overcome the central problem to the training effort in Iraq: a lack of recruits to train.
The idea was to “be more nimble, because, clearly, this is a nimble enemy”, said Ben Rhodes, deputy national security adviser.
The announcement was greeted with indifference and scepticism in Iraq, where efforts to arm local Sunnis opposed to Isis have foundered and training programmes by the US have made little progress in producing disciplined Sunni fighters capable of challenging the militant group.
“The increase doesn’t have an effect,” said Hisham al-Hashimi, an Iraqi scholar and expert on Isis. “It is a weak step to reduce pressure from the media.”
Representative Adam Schiff, the top Democrat on the House intelligence committee, warned in a statement that the mission “cannot succeed … unless it is accompanied by significant governance changes by the Iraqis themselves,” and he expressed concern “that the president has decided to expand the American role in the battle against [Isis] when the war still lacks an authorization from Congress.”
Thousands of Iraqi security forces retreated from Ramadi without putting up a fight after being challenged last month by Isis militants, who captured the city. Defense secretary Ash Carter said the Iraqi forces lacked a “will to fight”.
It was additionally unclear how increasing the number of US soldiers available to train Iraqi fighters would overcome a central problem to the training effort most recently spelled out on Monday by Obama: a lack of recruits to train.
“We’ve got more training capacity than we’ve got recruits,” Obama said at the close of a G7 summit in Germany. “It’s not happening as fast as it needs to.”