Special Operations: Some Boots On The Ground

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January 12, 2016: In Iraq over a thousand Western troops, many of them special operations (Special Forces, SEALs and other commandos), are providing training and advisory assistance to Iraqi forces. To get the most out of this, especially when special ops forces are involved, the effort is directed towards the best local troops. Experience has shown the Kurds and Iraqi Arab special operations troops benefit the most from this training and do so more quickly than less trained and experienced troops. This comes with some risks, mainly because this training is often done in a combat zone and the advisory aspect is often done in combat. In both these cases there are many instances where the trainers themselves come under fire. While the trainers are not there to fight they are armed and allowed to defend themselves when necessary. Unofficially the trainers are allowed to get involved in situations where their trainees are in great danger and the intervention of the trainers would be useful, and much appreciated by the trainees. This is allowed unofficially because there is risk of trainers being killed or wounded. This causes political problems back home where politicians have pledged to provide combat trainers but no combat troops. While some trainers have been killed or wounded during front line training there is always the risk of there are too many casualties among the foreign trainers politicians and media back home would make an issue out of it. Same with Iraqi politicians and media, who are insistent that there be no foreign combat troops in Iraq. Armed trainers are tolerated, but not if they regularly engage in combat.

 


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