Reuters quotes Rafik Hariri Center Resident Senior Fellow Frederic C. Hof on the deployment of US special operation troops to Iraq following the deadly attacks in Paris:

Fred Hof, formerly a top State Department adviser on Syria, said the planned deployment of special forces to Iraq to conduct raids and gather intelligence represented a shift by Obama.

Hof, who is now at the Atlantic Council think-tank, said the U.S. special forces were filling a gap in capable ground forces to fight Islamic State, which won control of Iraq’s Anbar provincial capital of Ramadi in May and also controls the northern of Mosul.

Obama “is edging as closely as he can to try to fill this … gap without violating in a technical sense his own ‘boots on the ground’ dictum,” Hof said, referring to Obama’s frequent pledges not to return to U.S. troops to a large-scale ground war.

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