About 500 US troops now in Iraq - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina |

About 500 US troops now in Iraq

Posted: Updated:
ISIS terrorists and Iraqi troops are battling for Iraqi's Haditha dam, located 170 miles northwest of Baghdad. (Source: CNN) ISIS terrorists and Iraqi troops are battling for Iraqi's Haditha dam, located 170 miles northwest of Baghdad. (Source: CNN)
  • InternationalMore>>

  • 2 Americans detained in North Korea seek US help

    2 Americans detained in North Korea seek US help

    Friday, August 1 2014 7:23 PM EDT2014-08-01 23:23:47 GMT
    Two American tourists charged with "anti-state" crimes in North Korea said Friday they expect to be tried soon and pleaded for help from the U.S. government to secure their release from what they say could be long...More >>
    Two American tourists charged with "anti-state" crimes in North Korea said Friday they expect to be tried soon and pleaded for help from the U.S. government to secure their release from what they say could be long prison...More >>
  • Ebola moving faster than control efforts

    Ebola moving faster than control efforts

    Friday, August 1 2014 6:50 PM EDT2014-08-01 22:50:46 GMT
    Presidents from the West African countries hit by the Ebola outbreak are meeting with world health leaders to come up with ways to stop the spread of the deadly disease.More >>
    An Ebola outbreak that has killed more than 700 people in West Africa is moving faster than efforts to control the disease, the head of the World Health Organization warned as presidents from the affected countries met...More >>
  • Israel pushes deeper in Gaza after soldier seized

    Israel pushes deeper in Gaza after soldier seized

    Friday, August 1 2014 4:56 PM EDT2014-08-01 20:56:05 GMT
    A three-day cease-fire in the Gaza Strip has gone into effect following heavy Israel-Hamas fighting.More >>
    Backed by tank fire and airstrikes, Israeli forces pushed deep into southern Gaza on Friday, searching for an Israeli army officer believed to be captured by Hamas fighters during deadly clashes that shattered an...More >>

(CNN) - As Iraq spirals into sectarian warfare many are answering the call of the country's prime minister and Shiite religious leaders to turn out for the military.

But will Iraq's army stand up to the relentless advance by ISIS insurgents and their Sunni allies?

That's the question U.S. troops on the ground in Iraq are trying to answer.

In Baghdad nearly 500 U.S. troops are now on the ground, including 180 military advisers of the 300 who President Barack Obama authorized plus security teams and intelligence analysts already there.

Priority one is to determine if Iraqi troops can hold the capital or if it's in danger of falling to the ISIS militants.

The current assessment: The Shia-dominated Iraqi military will keep control. The Sunni backed-ISIS won't risk an all-out urban war.

But there is deep worry about the strength of Iraqi forces across the country.

"What we really need to see is the army get back on its feet. We have folks there trying to help these elite units do that, and start to retake territory. But the situation on the ground is still very serious," said State Department Spokesperson Marie Harf.

Iraqi's Haditha dam, located 170 miles northwest of Baghdad, may be the most critical target to protect.

ISIS and Iraqi units are battling for control of the largest hydroelectric plant in western Iraq. The local police chief said government forces are so far holding onto control. But U.S. intelligence is watching closely. If ISIS seizes the dam then water and power for millions of Iraqis is in jeopardy.

Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki now say he's happy to have Syrian airstrikes against ISIS.

"There was no coordination involved, but we welcome this action," he said.

The U.S. does not welcome what it says were Syrian airstrikes that reached inside Iraq.

The U.S. is flying reconnaissance missions over Iraq to collect intelligence and to keep an eye for both Syrian warplanes and Iranian drones. And keeping an eye on threats against U.S. advisors.

A video message purportedly from a Sunni cleric calls for attacks against U.S. embassies worldwide if the U.S. conducts airstrikes in Iraq.

Copyright 2014 CNN. All rights reserved.

  • Iraq CrisisMore>>

  • Iraq's top Shiite cleric urges peaceful transition

    Iraq's top Shiite cleric urges peaceful transition

    Friday, August 1 2014 8:44 AM EDT2014-08-01 12:44:35 GMT
    The United Nations says 1,737 people, mostly civilians, were killed in Iraq in July, marking a dramatic decline from the previous month, when some 2,400 people were killed as Sunni militants swept across large...More >>
    Iraq's most influential Shiite cleric appealed to Iraqi politicians on Friday not to make themselves "an obstacle" in the country's transition as the deadline looms for selecting the next prime minister.More >>
  • FAA places new restrictions on flights over Iraq

    FAA places new restrictions on flights over Iraq

    Thursday, July 31 2014 10:33 PM EDT2014-08-01 02:33:56 GMT
    The Federal Aviation Administration is restricting U.S. airlines from flying at or below 30,000 feet over Iraq because of what it calls "the potentially hazardous situation created by the armed conflict" there.More >>
    The Federal Aviation Administration is restricting U.S. airlines from flying at or below 30,000 feet over Iraq because of what it calls "the potentially hazardous situation created by the armed conflict" there.More >>
  • Lebanese Hezbollah commander killed in Iraq

    Lebanese Hezbollah commander killed in Iraq

    Thursday, July 31 2014 9:49 AM EDT2014-07-31 13:49:47 GMT
    Officials say a commander with the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah was killed in Iraq.More >>
    A commander with the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah was recently killed while on a "jihadi mission" in Iraq, officials in Lebanon said Thursday.More >>
Powered by WorldNow