US troops possibly redeployed in Iraq: reports

Source:Xinhua Published: 2012-11-26 11:38:02

Iraqi media has recently circulated unofficial reports about the possible redeployment of unites of US soldiers in Iraq over fears that the Syrian crisis could spill over into Iraq.

Earlier, the private Independent Press Agency (IPA) quoted "a well-informed source" as saying that "Dozens of giant US airplanes C-130 Hercules had carried out successive flights to the once second largest US military airbase al-Aasad in Iraq's western province of Anbar."

However, On Sunday, a member of Anbar's provincial council told Xinhua on condition of anonymity that "I have no information about any US troops in the province."

The provincial council member also refused to give his opinion about any possible US troops' presence in the province and said he is not authorized to speak to the media about such sensitive issue.

Another private Iraqi news agency Buratha quoted an earlier US report as saying that the United States is negotiating with Iraq on a deal that would allow the deployment of small US military unites for training purposes.

"A US unit of the Special Operations soldiers has recently deployed in Iraq to provide advice in the fight against terrorism and help provide intelligence," Buratha News Agency said.

On Sept. 24, the New York Times newspaper quoted Lt. Gen. Robert L. Caslen Jr., an American commander in charge of speeding up weapons sales to Iraq, as saying that Iraq and the United States are negotiating an agreement that could result in the return of small units of American soldiers to Iraq on training missions.

According to Caslen, "A unit of Army Special Operations soldiers was recently deployed to Iraq to advise on counterterrorism and help with intelligence," the newspaper said.

It reported that the US administration is trying to help Iraqi security forces to defend the country from any possible spillover of Syrian violence to Iraq, as well as preventing Iraq from being pushed closer to Iran by the threat of the Syrian crisis.

However, Ali al-Mussawi, an advisor to Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, denied such reports, saying that such US military deployment will need an approval by the parliament.

"These reports are completely untrue because Iraq has a parliamentary political system, in which such things can not occur without official legislative and governmental approvals," Mussawi said, adding that "Such things can not be done in secret without announcement."

Iraqi officials frequently expressed their concern that the ongoing Syria conflict could spill over into the neighboring countries, particularly Iraq, which already suffers from sporadic waves of violence by insurgent groups.

Posted in: Mid-East

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