No Plans to Expand Air Ops in Iraq

While conceding that the Islamic terrorists rampaging through Iraq remain a threat, the Pentagon “has no plans to expand the current air operations” beyond the assigned mission of protecting US facilities and personnel and thousands of Iraqi religious refugees struggling to survive, said the Pentagon’s operations director on Monday. Army Lt. Gen. William Mayville said Air Force and Navy fighters would continue strikes as needed to stop Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant terrorists from advancing toward US personnel and the Yazidi refugees on Sinjar Mountain. But there were no plans to help the Yazidis escape from the barren peak or to expand the air strikes. “The immediate task is understanding what we are facing, what immediate assistance is required” for the Yazidis, and “assessing the threat to US facilities,” said Mayville. The current assessment is that the strikes “have had a temporary effect” on the terrorists’ advance, “but we expect ISIL to look to go elsewhere,” he said. Although ISIL forces initially were operating in the open, they now are trying to hide among Iraqi civilians, so “targeting is going to get more difficult,” he said. (Mayville transcript)