Pentagon to Rush Anti-Tank Weapons to Iraq to Counter Islamic State
The Pentagon said Thursday it would expedite delivery of 2,000 anti-tank weapons to Iraq to help security forces there combat the type of vehicle-borne suicide bombs that helped Islamic State fighters take control of Ramadi.
Pentagon spokesman Col. Steve Warren said that the AT4 shoulder-launched missiles are expected to arrive in Iraq as early as next week.
The number of weapons is double what was previewed just one day ago at the State Department, as the Obama administration scrambles to adjust its Iraq strategy in the wake of what it has characterized as a significant setback in efforts to push back the militants. A State Department official had said the weapons would be delivered next month.
President Obama, in an interview published Thursday, said that the United States has to”ramp up not just training, but also commitment” to Iraqi security forces and Sunni tribesmen in Anbar province, where Ramadi is the capital.
The Ramadi defeat, Obama told The Atlantic, “is indicative that the training of Iraqi security forces, the fortifications, the command-and-control systems are not happening fast enough in Anbar, in the Sunni parts of the country.” Anbar is Iraq’s largest province, occupying much of the western part of the country.