The coalition forces under US leadership have shifted their focus in Baghdad with the Islamic State now almost defeated. The focus by American troops has shifted from creating an enabling environment for Iraqi soldiers in military operations to maintaining the gains that have been achieved since the invasion in 2003. The decision will lead to a troop re-alignment where over 5,600 American soldiers in Baghdad are set to become a major presence in the war-torn country in the Middle-East region. Brigadier general Jonathan Braga has said that the coalition forces will be tailored to ensure that Daesh is defeated forever with consultation with the Iraqi military.
General Braga is the director of operations for coalition forces. An estimate that has been released by coalition forces concludes that 98% of all the territories that were previously held by ISIS have now been liberated in both Syria and Iraq. However, some fighters still operate in Syria’s eastern desert where they continue to combat Arab and Kurdish forces that are receiving military support from the United States both regarding personnel and logistics. Although ISIS has been significantly defeated on the ground, planners for the US military expect that ISIS fighters will turn to insurgent tactics by orchestrating high-profile acts of terrorism in Iraq.
Gen. Braga has said that coalition forces are still very well cognizant that the enemy can launch an offensive and retains their ability to plan and execute terror attacks around the globe. Braga added that the decision makers in the coalition are deliberating on how to change the composition of the force to have the best fighting troops on hand to neutralize any attacks from ISIS. The coalition forces have committed significant funding in intelligence, equipment, and training in the continued combat missions against the Islamist fighters which have received a green light from the government of Iraq.
According to a press statement that was recently released by coalition forces, the American military presence will be in coordination with the government of Iraq and in proportion to support and combat need for fighting ISIS. Braga said that American military presence in Iraq would shift from combat operations to more of oversight and police, force multiplying, the building of military capacity and border control. Although the number of American men in uniform that are currently deployed in Iraq remains a top guarded secret by the Pentagon, it is estimated that there may be more than 9,000 US troops fighting in Iraq by the end of 2017.