(NEW YORK) -- The U.S. mission in Iraq to find a quick solution to the onslaught of Islamic extremists has been compromised by the infiltration of Sunni and Shiite radicals into the national army. According to a story in The New York Times, the lives of American military personnel would be in danger if they attempt to advise Iraqi forces because of spies either affiliated with Sunnis attempting to overthrow the government or Shiite militiamen with ties to Iran.
The Times, which garnered the information from U.S. officials familiar with a classified report, also learned that just half of Iraqi units would be able to follow the advice of U.S. commandoes if a decision is made to retake territories now in the control of the Islamic State.
Adding to the quandary faced by the White House and the Pentagon is the growing reliance of the national army on Iran, which has either trained Shiite militias or supplied advisers from its vaunted paramilitary Quds Force.
Should the U.S. back off on direct military help, the Times said, Baghdad’s dependence on Tehran may not be enough alone to defeat the Islamic State.
On the other hand, the U.S. is also wary of sending more than the several hundred advisers currently in Iraq, fearing that it will wind up being a slippery slope to reestablishing a military presence in a country where more than 4,000 American soldiers were killed from 2003 through 2011.
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