What Can 300 Military Advisers Achieve in Iraq?

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U.S. President Barack Obama speaks about Iraq in the Brady Briefing room of the White House on June 19, 2014 in Washington, DC.
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Over the last three decades, from the Gulf War to the War on Terror, the United States and its allies have spent trillions of dollars on war in Iraq. Thousands of lives have been lost, and thousands more are forever changed. 

Now, as sectarian violence once again threatens the region, President Obama announced a plan to send up to 300 military advisers to Iraq to help the nation's security forces overcome Sunni extremists who have built strongholds in the northeast part of the country. 

Robin Wright, distinguished scholar at the Wilson Center in Washington and the U.S. Institute of Peace, says the U.S. doesn't have the morale or the money to stage a third intervention, and she's skeptical that the president's plans can produce results.  

Wright, the author of "Rock the Casbah: Rage and Rebellion Across the Islamic World," also raises concerns about the future of Iraq under Prime Minister Maliki, who has laid the blame for the current crisis on Saudi Arabia. 

She writes that the Prime Minister's "intransigence has sabotaged Iraqi nationalism—though others share in the blame—and simply propping him up could eventually be costly."