Apparently, the Iraq War is never quite over. Secretary of Defense Ash Carter made a surprise visit to Baghdad Monday to meet with U.S. commanders and Iraqi counterparts about the mission to defeat ISIS. There, he announced that the U.S. is going to commit more than 200 additional troops, Apache helicopters, and a rocket-artillery system to shore up efforts to retake the city of Mosul, which ISIS has controlled since 2014. The U.S. is also pledging $415 million to the Peshmerga, the Iraqi Kurds’ fighting forces that have been keeping ISIS at bay in northern Iraq.
Army special forces will make up most of the additional troops, bringing the total number up to a little more than 4,000. Most of these units will advise the Iraqi military as it initiates operations in Mosul, but the U.S. will also embed a small number of teams. This is the first major increase of troop levels in more than a year, according to the Associated Press, underscoring the desire by both the Obama administration and the Iraqis to reclaim the city of Mosul from the middle ages.