World Bulletin / News Desk
The United States is considering building more U.S. military bases in Iraq to drive back ISIL in a move that may require a further increase in American forces, the top U.S. general said on Thursday.
A day after the White House announced the deployment of 450 more U.S. troops to Iraq and a new training hub in Anbar province, Army General Martin Dempsey said the Pentagon was considering more sites in strategic areas such as the corridor from Baghdad to Tikrit and further north toward Mosul.
"Our campaign is built upon establishing these 'lily pads,' if you will, that allow us to continue to encourage the Iraqi security forces forward," Dempsey told reporters before landing in Naples, Italy.
U.S. President Barack Obama has said the troops would not engage in combat in Iraq, where the Pentagon has relied heavily on an air campaign that U.S. officials say has killed thousands of ISIL and eroded their capability.
Asked about Dempsey's comments, White House deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes told MSNBC, "if (Obama) gets a recommendation to have another facility like this, he'll take a hard look at it."
Dempsey also renewed the possibility of deploying U.S. spotters alongside Iraqi forces to call in air strikes during a future offensive, but added, "we're just not there yet."
The possible future training sites, such as the hub at the Taqaddum military base about 15 miles (25 km) from Ramadi, were "just part of prudent planning," he said.
"It's very practical (planning), looking at geographic locations, road networks, airfields, places where we can actually establish these hubs," Dempsey said.
Dempsey did not see another such site in Anbar province soon. "But I could conceive of one potentially somewhere in the corridor that runs from Baghdad to Tikrit to Kirkuk and over into Mosul. So we're looking at that area," Dempsey said.Güncelleme Tarihi: 12 Haziran 2015, 11:59