Local security contractor gets ready to travel to Iraq

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A retired Fort Bragg lieutenant colonel knows plenty about what the soldiers on the ground will face.

The crisis in Iraq is forcing President Obama to reverse course. He's ordering as many as 300 American troops to Iraq to advise, assist, and accompany Iraqi troops, who've been taking a beating.

That means some of our troops may be in the line of fire.

A retired Fort Bragg lieutenant colonel knows plenty about what the soldiers on the ground will face. Jim Reese spent 25 years as an Army Ranger and retired in the Delta Force, which is the cream of the crop of the group.

As the founder of a private security firm based in Apex, which also operates in Iraq, Reese said this is a delicate mission that could easily become a quagmire.

"This could explode the whole Middle East," said Reese.

Reese was referring to the militants seizing city after city - who prompted the president's announcement Thursday that he's prepared to deploy up to 300 Special Forces to Iraq.

"Most of these guys will know most of the people who they are advising because, when we left in 2011, a lot of these guys were already doing this advisory role in helping teach the Iraqi army," said Reese.

The President emphasized that the U.S. won't be in combat, but Reese said they will be close.

"It's exposure to bring us back into direct combat operations," said Reese. "Don't let anyone be fooled that there won't be guys very close to the front lines advising the Iraqis to push back these Isis terrorists."

Reese knows well. He spent the latter part of his career in Iraq where he was from day one of the war. He retired in 2007 only to return to run his private safety firm Tigerswan, which provides international security for corporations. In a way he never left, but tenuous conditions are forcing his clients to.

"We have assisted in evacuations for three of clients - one of them by helicopter evacuation, two by ground," said Reese.

Reese said Special Forces will help the Iraqis plan their fight against Isis, and gather intelligence using drones.

"They'll probably have some logistics and everything set up either down in Kuwait or over in Jordan or Saudi to help support these guys," said Reese. "What I'd be looking for is some type of ceasefire that Isis gets held," he said.

Reese said what we probably won't hear the President Obama mention is a timeline. He said political challenges between the Iraqis, Sunnis, and Shias can't be measured that way.

He is leaving for Iraq Friday to provide logistics and security for media outlets covering the crisis in Iraq.

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