US sources told the Kuwaiti newspaper Al-Rai that Washington is considering an international ground force of 30,000 soldiers to expel the Islamic State from western and northern of Iraq as well as eastern and northern Syria.
The sources said the force would consist of Turkish, Saudi, Jordanian, Egyptian, Iraqi, European, Canadian, Australian and American troops.
Republican Senator Marco Rubio asked US presidential envoy for the global coalition to counter IS, General John Allen, about this operation during a hearing of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, but Allen preferred to answer in a closed session.
Democratic senator Barbara Boxer criticized President Barack Obama for requesting Congress to pass a new law that authorizes the use of military force against IS, including ground troops. She demanded to know the time required for a ground operation the president may order.
Allen told the committee on Wednesday that he had just returned from Kuwait where he met with Defense Secretary Ashton Carter and 30 US diplomatic and military officials at Camp Arifjan and discussed a strategy for addressing IS and progress that has been achieved to date.
He said the situation in Iraq is still very complicated and the road ahead is full of challenges and will not be a straight line, but given how the situation was just eight months ago, one could see the results of the first phase of the strategy.
He pointed out that IS had in June said it would complete its progress towards Baghdad and Karbala, but lost today most of the territories it had occupied, such as the Mosul Dam, the Rabia border crossing, Mount Sinjar, Mount Zammar and the supply line from Syria to Mosul.
He added that IS had last week attacked the town of Al-Baghdadi near the Air Force base where the US, Danish and Australian troops are stationed to train Iraqi soldiers and volunteers from the tribes. “They killed civilians and forced hundreds of families to flee, but the Iraqis organized themselves and fought back,” he said.
“All Americans will be proud when they see what our soldiers did there,” he added. “And this is just the beginning.”
He said the United States is seeking to secure funds needed for humanitarian aid for Syrian and Iraqi refugees.
“As President Obama had announced, we have established a broadcast center with the United Arab Emirates to respond to IS attacks in the area of information,” he said.
Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm
Sources: Washington mulls ground force coalition with Egypt, Turkey against IS | Egypt Independent.