According to AFP, US military advisors are likely to take a more direct role in the ground campaign against jihadists in Iraq once Iraqi forces are ready to go on the offensive, General Martin Dempsey USA, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) said on ABC News on Sunday's "This Week," on (October 12).
General Dempsey qualified his statement, though, by saying WHEN Iraqi forces are ready to take the offensive against IS.
General Dempsey said he had not yet encountered a situation where US air strikes would be more effective if US troops were on the ground identifying targets.
"Mosul will likely be the decisive battle in the ground campaign at some point in the future," Dempsey said in an interview with ABC News, referring to the northern Iraqi city seized by IS militants in June.
COMMENT: As I have said so often in the past, the cardinal sin in politics is NEVER tell you enemy WHAT YOU WON'T DO!
"My instinct at this point is that will require a different kind of advising and assisting because of the complexity of that fight," Dempsey said.
Dempsey caused a stir last month when he told lawmakers that if he believed US military advisors should accompany Iraqi troops on the ground against IS fighters he would recommend that to President Barack Obama.
President Obama has insisted there would be no US boots on the ground.
Doubts remain, however, that the Iraqi military will be formidable enough to go on the offensive any time soon, creating another challenge for more direct US military involvement.
Dempsey revealed that US Apache attack helicopters had to be called in recently to repel an IS attack on Iraqi forces 20 to 25 kilometers (12 to 15 miles) from the Baghdad Airport.
"Had they overrun the Iraqi unit, it was a straight shot to the airport, so we're not going to allow that to happen. We need that airport," he said.