U.S. military officials, focused on eradicating the Islamic State, say the rumors are beyond ridiculous — and it appears they may be fueled by Shiite leaders trying to engender a shift away from the U.S. alliance and toward Iran. But it’s still not great news for the United States, which needs local buy-in to help with the fight — particularly on the ground, where the United States is loath to send many more ground troops and is trusting Iraqis to do a lot of the work.
NEW TASK FORCE TO FIGHT THE ISLAMIC STATE. Meanwhile, U.S. officials are committing a new Special Operations task force to fight the Islamic State in Iraq, Defense Secretary Ash Carter said on Tuesday. The force, about 200 strong, marks a shift back toward direct ground operations, instead of merely advising the Iraqi troops, The Washington Post reports.
GITMO PLAN A NO-GO. It would cost too much to shutter Guantanamo, the White House decided when presented with the Pentagon’s latest plan, costing over half a billion dollars — so they sent it back for revisions, the Wall Street Journal reports. That should guarantee even greater delays in delivering a plan to Congress, where the road to Guantanamo closure is so rocky that many members are openly worrying — and calling for — President Obama to simply try to shutter it himself.