sky and accept their terms and continues. >> it's time to remind you that you can find out much more on our top stories on our website. the address to click on to is al jazeera.com. al jazeera.com for all of your breaking news. >> more u.s. troops are going to iraq to help train iraqi forces in the fight against isil. the obama administration is said to review more details this hour. two killers who escaped from a mark prison, now the police turn their focus back on the small town surrounding the jail. putin is sitting down today with the leader of the catholic church.
>> this is al jazeera america live from new york city. i'm erica pizi. one year after isil took control of iraq's second largest city, the obama administration is getting ready to send in 450 military personnel to anbar province. it comes directly from iraq's prime minister hyder al abadi. the troops will work along side the u.s. forces already in the country. national security correspondent jamie mcintyre joins us on the phone from the pentagon. good afternoon. thank you for joining us. why this big push for troops now? >> you may recall, erica president obama said he did not have a complete strategy for battling isil in iraq. this is the finished product
that comes from that review. and the centerpiece is sending an additional 450 u.s. military trainers to a fifth new training location in iraq in anbar province at the air base, which is just south of habanniyah. that's where iraqis have been working and a counter offensive to retake ramadi. we're telling you that the troops are doing more than just routine training. they're basically there to help coordinate the offensive and turn the tide of battle against isil. they'll be providing intelligence mission command. they'll be advising the iraqi troops on how to proceed as they go back to take back ramadi, and also importantly they'll be reaching out and trying to mobilize the sunni tribes in the area to get them involved in the
fight as well. essentially the u.s. has taken a look at what went wrong when isil retook ramadi, and tried to address some of those problems. they're giving them additional weapons, including anti-tank weapons because isil has shown recently that it's weapon of choice is a big vehicle bombs and they need those. they've been trying to address the lack of communication that caused the iraqi troops who were in ramadi to scatter when they weren't sure where they would have the backup that they need. they try to learn the lessons from the fall of ramadi and factor that in to this new plan, which will--which mr. produce more trained iraqi troops. it's part of the strategy review. it's part of an ongoing process and it will add a fifth training location right in anbar where right now the focus is trying to retake the initiative from isil. >> what does this troop increase really mean for the u.s.
involvement and really the overall fight against isil? could we see u.s. putting more boots on the ground and other countries effected by isil? >> well, the main thing that it means is that the u.s. is still resisting going into any sort of direct combat role in iraq. there are other things the u.s. could be doing to give the iraqi troops more firepower. one would be to put spotters on the ground, direct airstrikes more effectively. it could provide helicopter aviation to augment the troops on the ground and put in advisers right in the front with the iraqi troops, but it's not doing any of those things because that would move the u.s. from this size and assist role into ground combat operations. that is something that the white house has said it doesn't want to do for two reasons. one, the risk of american
casualty. and there is a feeling if the u.s. are doing too much for the iraqi military. they believe that the iraqi military needs to own this fight. all the efforts announced today were designed to enhance the iraq's ability to do that and reach out and include more sunni fighters into the mix so that they will feel empowered and part the fight to protect their communities as well. it's going to be--it's a strategy that's based on the long term not something that is going to produce immediate results at the pentagon they refer to this as strategic patience. you have to realize that this is not something that you're going to win the battle overnight. >> jamie mcintyre our national security correspondent reporting from the pentagon. thank you. it's been one year since isil took its biggest prize the city of mosul and it has not stopped since despite airstrikes from the u.s.-led coalition. last june isil swept through western iraq and took a third of the country including mosul within days. by december the armed group lost
territory in syria but expanded it's influence on its way towards baghdad. in march isil had reversed those losses and as last month the group was firmly in control of the strategic cities of ramadi fallujah. >> the battle where the battle is being fought here in iraq. the reasons for that are many-fold. you have a number of shia militias and iraqi security force who is are taking towns and villages and roads the all the on ramadi. and you have the two largest border crossings with syria coming in to anbar province, and they can reinforce and bring in troops there. geographically the iraqis don't have control of the supply line between baghdad and mosul and you need that supply line if you're going to try and take mosul because there are a number of fights along the way. taking it up to beiji where
they're fighting. there are plans but those plans at the moment esolve around coalition-led airstrikes. the airstrikes really only go so far. they're great at cutting off supply lines and opening territory. but in areas where there are large amounts of civilians they're not that useful. this is not an official government position but something that iraqis are beginning to float not just here but inning about dad as well. the idea of embedding special forces with the front line fighting troops. they can call in airstrikes much more quickly much more accurately and much more effectively than any of the iraqis can. it means that they can go in quicker into places and relief isil positions. >> an tamper attempted attack.
two attackers dead and a third in custody after police intercepted them at luxor. one officer was wounded but no civilians were killed. new developments today in the search for two convicted killers who escaped from a prison in northern new york. search teams are once again scoring the area around the clinton correctional facility. they're retracing their steps five days after the men went missing. this comes one day after an extensive church. >> combing through fields, checking every building by foot and helicopter. they followed a tip from residents who say they saw two men walking to the rainstorm. there is concern that that they
could become more dangerous. investigators are trying to figure out who may have helped with the elaborate escape. they've been questioning contractors and employees including joys mitchell, she was in charge of overseeing work assignments of sweat and matt. >> she definitely would not have an affair wednesday my father. and it definitely would not be an inmate. there is no truth to that. >> law enforcement officers said the two men had a spot on the prison's honor block allowing them to visit each other and keep civilian clothing. >> the mtsb said that the engine freighting the amtrak train that crashed last month was not using his cell phone. eight people were killed in at a derailment and dozen mrs. mrs. injured.
>> today a senate committee will be holding a hearing on the crash. the railroad ocean said that all attendance--we're expecting to hear more today about a texas police officer who resigned after a video of his response at a pool party went viral. he was a corporal in mckinney texas, who you can see in video here putting his knee into the 15-year-old girl's back, shoving her to the ground. he pull his gun on other teenagers who attempted to intervene. the police chief condemned his behavior. >> he has resigned from the mckinney police department as chief of police. i want to say to our community that the actions as soon on the video at the disturbance at the
community pool are indefensible. our policies, our training our practice do not support his actions. he came in to the call out of control, and as the video shows he was out of control during the incident. >> he is a former texas state trooper. he'll keep his pension and benefits but he could face drill charges for his actions. pope francis has approved a new tribunal to hear child sex abuse cases. they will hear cases against bishops. no bishop has ever been removeed for covering up guilty priests. but in april the pope did accept the resignation of a pimp who was convicted of failing to report a suspected child abuser. russian president vladimir putin is back at the vatican today. his motorcade just pulled up for a meeting with pope francis. it's a meeting gaining a lot of attention in russia and in the
west. patricia sabga is here. >> they're portraying this that it doesn't matter if putin is not welcomed by the g 7 and what better way to demonstrate that than to travel to the heart of europe to discuss pressing global issues with one of the most influential leaders in the world. the crisis will likely be on the agenda. the pope has called for both sides to respect the cease-fire, but the pope has not taken sides despite the urgings of the catholic church to condemn russia. >> a tremendous amount of meeting. he essentially canceled out the fact that he was cut out of g 7
because it's just--now. >> now this trip is an opportunity for putin to showcase his christian credentials. that's a cornerstone of his power. the russian orthodox children filled the vacuum left by the championships of collapse of communism. he is playing the christian card on the global stage casting himself as a defender of christian communities in the middle east who are under attack by isil and other armed groups. >> you talk about the global stage here. does his role resonate beyond russia? >> it does resonate beyond russia. especially in the far right in europe. the far right has been gaining traction in europe, and in europe you have secular
societies and secular leaders and there is putin flaunting his christian mantle and christian faith at easter, christmas state television always runs picture of him in moscow doing the ceremonies, and that plays well with the far christian right in europe. >> all right patty, thank you. >> let's go to the white house briefing room now. the daily briefing just getting under way here. we expect to hear more plans to send more troops to iraq. >> to ramp up efforts in anbar province and iraq. i'm happy to take your questions on that. and any other topics that may be on your mind. do you want to get started. >> do you have more information who are fighting isis in syria?
>> i don't have information on that. but we can check on that for you. >> with the house vote coming up on a friday, can you you give us a sense of what the president has decided last minute. >> the president does continue to be engaged with members of congress with both parties about why he believes the house should pass legislation. it's already passed the senate. it would give them the authority to negotiate the most progressive trade bill. he believes this is clearly in the best interest of the united states. the agreement would include higher labor standards and specific language about the need to respect human rights. so the president, you know, as you know, has been actively
engaged in making this public and privately to republicans and democrats. he spent more time talking with democrats on this matter. the president and his team will continue to be engage in the days leading up to the vote. in convincing the democrats and republicans to build the majority. >> inaudible question. >> i can tell you that they'll gain a by spatter on it majority majority. >> was medicare paid for that was removed from the trade assistant package. what does the white house think about that, and. >> darlene, as it relates to the specific force included in the legislation, we have acknowledged that this is something that democrats and republicans in congress will have to work out.
and we have supportive to resolve some of these incidents. but we have not weighed in on any of the promises that have come back and forth. this is the process that we see on a range of issues. what we're ultimately seeking is for the president to sign this into law and we get about the work of completing the ppt negotiations with the other countries in the asia pacific. >> finally the vice president has returned to the white house to have lunch with the president. have you seen him today? is there anything that you can tell him about how he's holding up? >> i have not seen the vice president today. but i was aware of his schedule, and that he was returning.
i think i mentioned this last week. the vice president and his family continue to be moved by the incredible outpouring and supreme court that they have received at this time. that was on full display for those who have had the opportunity to attend or watch the funeral over the weekend. this will continue with the biden family and all of us who care deeply for the vice president and his family. but i think that the vice president is very dedicated to his job. we're obviously pleased that he'll be able to--he's able to return today, and to much be
focused again in the challenges in the role of vice president. >> did the president consider sending more than the 450 troops that he ended up deciding on? >> yes i think that the department of defense official that you spoke to on the call starting from the question what is needed to improve our efforts in iraq. what can we do to enter support the strategy that is laid out and what can we do to capitalize on the elements of our strategy
that have been proven effective in iraq. and the best way to do both of those things is to essentially expand the capacity of our train, advise and assist mission in anbar province. that is to build up the capacity of iraqi security forces given the benefit of the training of u.s. and coalition partners. we also will provide equipment and material to iraqi security forces. this will also allow the body of government to more effectively pursue their strategy to recruit sunni tribal fighters into this effort. they arethey will benefit from
the training. they'll benefit from the transfer of weapons and equipment, and bringing them into this fight under the control of the iraqi government will be an important part of insuring that we have iraqi fighters on the ground who are fighting isil in their own country, and even in their own communities. in pursuit of that specific effort it was considered the right approach. then there was the consideration of how many--how large of an additional contingent of u.s. military forces would be required to undertake that mission at the new location. and the president's international security team recognizing that forced protection in iraq is critically
important. obviously it continues to be a dangerous country. obviously anbar province continues to be particularly volatile region of an already dangerous country. that is based on analysis of the department of defense and other elements of the president's initial security team. they arrived at this number, 450 u.s. personnel would be required to carry out this mission and that's the basis of the decision that the president made today. >> given the political pressures that this white house is facing, are you confident that, a that that number is enough. and b these initiatives are enough right now to to halt the progress. >> the president and his team are confident that for now 450
troops are additional personnel are what is necessary to fulfill this expanded advise and assist and training mission to the air base. what is also true is that the president will continue to push his national security team to continually evaluate the strategy. to take a close look at the tactics that are being deployed in iraq and determine which ones have proven to be effective. and not only to those areas where they have been making progress but also the areas where they have seen setbacks. as referred to on the call there are some locations in anbar near the other training base in anbar. where we have seen iraqi security forces where they have been trained by coalition forces
that have received the benefit of advice and assistance of u.s. military personnel where we have seen the iraqi security forces being effective in driving out isil. that's the reference of to down of baghdadi, which is in anbar province and a town that was taken over by isil, and essentially retain by american and coalition-trained iraqi security forces. they did that, not just with the training they received from our coalition, but they did that with the advice of our coalition and with the backing of military airstrikes. that's an indication of an area where the strategy the president has laid out has yielded important progress. that's the kind of progress we would like to see in other places in anbar and other places across the country and in iraq. >> that's the white house press
secretary josh earnest taking questions on several issues, but front and center, of course, is certainly the news of sending 450 troops to help train iraqi troops there in iraq, including a new military base. let's go ahead and bring in a national correspondent. what did you hear that stood out in the briefing briefing. >> that's right in the staging area where iraqi forces are organizing what they hope to be a counter offensive in ramadi? there was a response to the bad things that happened with the fall of ramadi. specifically they saw that the
iraqi troops that were holding ramadi, they had a big numerical advantage that should have been able to hold the city were spooked by a number of things they will not just be training soldiers how to shoot straight and how hand-to-hand combat, but they'll also be helping with the command and control and the organization of those troops to make sure that they have a better awareness of what is happening on the battlefield. they'll have better weapons to counter big vehicle bombs that isil has been using as their weapon of choice, the explosions of which in ramadi really spooked the iraqi troops that were there and they are also going to be providing a lot of
outreach. to help retake these areas that are predominately sunni areas. the u.s. military is still not going to be in any sort of direct combat role. that's where the obama administration is drawing the line. >> how do you think this new plan will help the iraqi government attract those sunni tribal fighters. they want more on their side. how will this plan help that? >> it's the weakest part of the plan. it remains to be seen if this outreach is going to be successful the sunni fighters have to believe that they're fighting for their own communities and not necessarily for the shia government in baghdad. >> all right jamie mcintyre live for us from the pentagon. thank you for joining us. i'm erica pitzi. we have more news coming up for the latest headlines you can always visit www.aljazeera.com.
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built for business. >> the point is we continue to be concerned about the situation in anbar province. it's not unrelated to the concern that we have or about the priority that we placed on ultimately driving isil out of mosul as well. >> can you say what the president considers success in terms of time frame what would the white house consider to be in line with what you're shooting here?