Rep. C. A. "Dutch" Ruppersberger called Wednesday for the deployment of more Special Operations troops to Iraq to train local forces to fight the self-declared Islamic State.

The Baltimore County Democrat visited Iraq, Israel, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain last week.


"I believe that we need more American troops to go to Iraq to help keep the momentum that's happening," Ruppersberger told reporters at his Timonium office. "We're not talking about sending a lot of people in. We're talking about Special Operations people, people that know what they're doing to continue to train the military that has to take control."

Ruppersberger did not say how many troops he would ask the Obama Administration to send. The Pentagon has announced plans to deploy more Special Operations forces in the country, but has not said how many.

Ruppersberger said the United States should avoid the role of the "sheriff of Iraq," and instead help Iraqi forces target key ISIS leaders and recruiting centers.

"Right now we know they're very active in Syria and Iraq and other parts of the world," Ruppersberger said. "We also know that to be able to break their legs, we have to aggressively stop them from holding land."

Ruppersberger met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. He said Netanyahu expressed concern over U.S.-Israeli relations.

Ruppersberger said many people asked about the rhetoric in the U.S. presidential election.

"Everywhere we went, they said, 'What is going on in your country?'" he said. "There is concern wherever we went about what is going on with these negative debates and these outrageous comments being made that have no backup and no substance to them."

Ruppersberger said he spoke with troops from Maryland, as well as a tribal leader who thanked him for the U.S. presence in Iraq.

"ISIS are killing his people, raping his women, and [his tribe] are going to fight that any way they can," he said.