A general view of the Wadi al-Salam, or "Valley of Peace" cemetery in the Shiite holy city of Najaf, 100 miles (160 kilometers) south of Baghdad, Iraq, Tuesday, July 1, 2014. (AP Photo/Jaber al-Helo)
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As Russia and Iran step in to bolster the government in Baghdad, U.S. President Barack Obama has no good options to help defeat the Al-Qaeda splinter group that's proclaimed an Islamic caliphate in Iraq and Syria.Obama's ability to influence events in Iraq is limited, though, according to a U.S. intelligence official.Retired Gen. Jack Keane, a former vice chief of staff of the U.S. Army, said the U.S. should send a small number of U.S. special forces to Iraq to direct targets for U.S. airstrikes against ISIS.While Iraqi military and civilian leaders have always had a generally unfounded view of what technology could do for them, air support would be very helpful, especially given the way ISIS is operating openly, assembling in camps in the desert and driving down the highways, said a former senior commander of the U.S.-led coalition in Iraq.However, he continued, it's instructive to recall that 165,000 well-trained U.S. forces supported by snipers, heavy bombers and everything in between, and by coalition forces and hundreds of thousands of Iraqi troops and police, had to fight hard to defeat ISIS' predecessor, Al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI), during the 2007 surge of more than 20,000 additional U.S. forces in Iraq.
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