A soldier prepares to load a shell as Iraqi security forces and allied Popular Mobilization Forces bomb Daesh positions at an oil field outside Beiji, some 250 kilometers north of Baghdad, Iraq, Oct. 24, 2015. (AP Photo)
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Iraq's ruling alliance and powerful Shiite militias say Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi would be digging his own political grave and undermining the fight against Daesh (ISIS) if he permits the deployment of a new U.S. special operations force in the country.White House spokesman Josh Earnest told reporters Wednesday that Abadi supports the U.S. effort to send special operations forces to Iraq.Asked about Abadi's comments about Tuesday's announcement of additional U.S. troops headed to Iraq, Earnest said the remarks were directed at ground combat troops, not special operations forces. The prime minister has been under mounting U.S. pressure to rein in the Iranian-backed armed groups, angering the forces who enjoy support from many of Iraq's majority Shiites.Lawmakers said Abadi would not risk a confrontation with the paramilitaries, but it will be difficult for him to resist pressure from Washington, a major donor to the Iraqi military, to give U.S. troops a wider combat role. Shiite militias put up fierce resistance to the U.S. occupation that followed Saddam Hussein's overthrow.Jafaar Hussaini, a spokesman for Kataeb Hezbollah, one of the main Iranian-backed Shiite militant groups, said sending U.S. forces would only worsen the security crisis in Iraq.
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