Pentagon eyes ‘lily pad’ bases in northern Iraq to ‘encourage Iraqi army forward’

Pentagon eyes ‘lily pad’ bases in northern Iraq to ‘encourage Iraqi army forward’

[Ed. – I suppose this thing can still get more surreal.]

The United States is considering building more U.S. military bases in Iraq to drive back Islamic State militants 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.

Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, acknowledged these might require sending more U.S. troops, which already numbered about 3,100 in Iraq before Wednesday’s announcement. His spokesman said American forces could also be moved from within Iraq to avoid troop increases.

“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. …

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.”

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