The United States has already agreed to send military advisors to train around 6,000 vetted Sunni tribesmen, who will be armed with assault rifles and other weapons.It was not immediately clear if the increased pace of training would spell an increase in the number of US military advisors. But the White House insisted that there was no major shift in policy."There is no formal strategy review," said Baskey, indicating that the pace rather than type of assistance to Sunni tribes was in question.A more detailed announcement could come as soon as Wednesday.Obama has repeatedly ruled out sending vast numbers of US troops back to the theater of a bloody and unpopular nine-year war that he vowed to end.Instead, he has promised to support Iraq's struggling army and hit IS from the air.There has also been support for disparate Iraqi armed groups that have sometimes proven a more potent fighting force than army or police regulars, though not without controversy.In the north, Baghdad had been uneasy about arms flowing to Kurdish peshmerga fighters, fearing those arms could later be used in the battle for independence.Meanwhile, many of the Shiite groups that helped retake Tikrit are armed and trained by Iran and their role in campaigns in overwhelmingly Sunni Anbar could risk reigniting a sectarian bloodbath.Reeling from the worst setback since IS grabbed swathes of territory in June last year, Baghdad and Washington may have few other options.But the White House wants to see those groups firmly under the command and control of the Iraqi military and is also turning to Sunni tribes, which helped turn the tide of America's own war in Iraq through the "Sunni Awakening." Iraq's army and allied paramilitary forces have already massed around Ramadi, looking for swift action to recapture the city from IS before it builds up defenses."The Iraqi government needs to launch an immediate counteroffensive before (IS) can consolidate its power, both for symbolic reasons and because of Ramadi's proximity to Baghdad," said Michael Knights of the Washington Institute.
Full Article: Obama set to speed arms shipments and training for Iraq tribes