(CNSNews.com) - The White House and the Defense Department announced today that President Obama will order an additional 1,500 troops to Iraq, more than doubling the 1,400 who are currently there.
On Wednesday, in his first post-election press conference, the president said he will be seeking from Congress a new Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF) to engage in warfare against the Islamic State, which is now operating out of territory it has seized in Iraq and Sryia.
At the end of 2011, as he headed into the 2012 election year, President Obama removed all U.S. troops from Iraq, and declared the war there over.
That war had been authorized by an AUMF that Congress approved on Oct. 11, 2002.
Since Obama declared that Iraq War over, Iraq has seen the rise of the Islamic State in Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS). ISIS is a terrorist group that sprang from al Qaeda, was expelled from al Qaeda, and then went on to take control of a large territory in Iraq and Syria. Its aim is to create a caliphate in the region that now includes Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan and Israel.
White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest announced the troop deployment this afternoon. The additional 1,500 personnel he said will be in "a noncombat role to train, advise, and assist Iraqi Security Forces, including Kurdish forces."
"U.S. Central Command will establish two expeditionary advise and assist operations centers, in locations outside of Baghdad and Erbil, to provide support for the Iraqis at the brigade headquarters level and above," Rear Admiral John Kirby, the Pentagon spokesman told National Public Radio. "These centers will be supported by an appropriate array of force protection."
On Dec. 14, 2011, Obama traveled to Fort Bragg to announce that he had brought all troop home from Iraq and that he war was over.
“It’s harder to end a war than begin one,” Obama said then. “Indeed, everything that American troops have done in Iraq--all the fighting and all the dying, the bleeding and the building, and the training and the partnering--all of it has led to this moment of success. Now, Iraq is not a perfect place. It has many challenges ahead. But we’re leaving behind a sovereign, stable and self-reliant Iraq, with a representative government that was elected by its people. We’re building a new partnership between our nations. And we are ending a war not with a final battle, but with a final march toward home. This is an extraordinary achievement, nearly nine years in the making.”
In his ensuing reelection campaign, the president repeatedly took credit--at rallies--for fulfilling the promise of his first campaign to end the Iraq war.
"I've kept the commitment that I've made," Obama said, for example, at an Oct. 24, 2012 rally in Iowa. "I told you we would end the war in Iraq. We did."
"I mean what I say and I say what I mean," Obama said on Nov. 5, 2012. "I said I'd end the war in Iraq. I ended it."
On Jan. 21 of this year, Abu Bakr al Baghdadi, the leader of ISIS, issued an audio statement making a direct and unambiguous threat to the United States.
"Our last message is to the Americans," he said. "Soon we will be in direct confrontation, and the sons of Islam have prepared for such a day."
On Wednesday, Obama explained why he believed he needed a new war authorization.
"With respect to the AUMF, we’ve already had conversations with members of both parties in Congress, and the idea is to right-size and update whatever authorization Congress provides to suit the current fight, rather than previous fights," Obama said Wednesday.
"In 2001, after the heartbreaking tragedy of 9/11, we had a very specific set of missions that we had to conduct, and the AUMF was designed to pursue those missions," said Obama. "With respect to Iraq, there was a very specific AUMF."
"We now have a different type of enemy," said Obama. "The strategy is different. How we partner with Iraq and other Gulf countries and the international coalition--that has to be structured differently. So it makes sense for us to make sure that the authorization from Congress reflects what we perceive to be not just our strategy over the next two or three months, but our strategy going forward."