The matter of transparency about the number of Troops deployed to afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria, is drawing attention in relation to President Trump's announcement last week that the administration was going to deploy 4,000 more troops to Afghanistan. The issue is that despite the caps that the former Obama administration placed a limit on the number of troops deployed to war zones in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria, the Pentagon has had more troops there than publicly reported. Reports state that those numbers were a total of 6,000 more than reported.

From U.S.-coalition to U.S. occupation

While the new effort in Afghanistan made headlines, there is still the matter of U.S.-led coalitions on different fronts in Iraq and Syria. For Syria, U.S. troops there are publicly reported to be at 503 but does not include hundreds of others which still remain classified. For Iraq, there are publicly said to be 5,200 but according to recent reports, the number is closer to 7,000. The most recent fight the U.S. was engaged in was at Mosul where the coalition defeated the Islamic State. But now that the terror group has been purged from the area, many Iraqis are reportedly afraid that U.S. troops might stay longer.

When the U.S-led coalition was beginning to position itself in Mosul last October, the administration said they would remain after Islamic State was gone to help rebuild.

It's unknown if this is a view that is shared by the Trump administration. A report by Politico titled: "Pentagon's concealment of total troops in war zones under fire" points to the political gamble that Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi's government faces as he is looking to run for re-election next year.

Keeping sectarianism low means keeping U.S. troops lower

Former Prime Minister al-Maliki was largely blamed for stoking sectarianism in the area when he purged Sunni Muslims from his forces. Under al-Abadi, there has been a more public effort to put everyone on equal footing, with Shiite and Sunni militias being restricted from joining the fight.

This was because in that were mostly Sunni or Shiite, a militia representing the opposing side would take liberties to execute their religious rivals, inciting more sectarianism. A U.S. presence in Iraq after post-ISIS will only serve to inflame sectarianism again.

The new numbers reported are from leaks that have come from many places, including Trump's own National Security Council, which surprisingly, James Mattis claims to not have the exact numbers for yet. In fact, he has promised reporters twice in recent weeks that he was going to release more accurate numbers. It's been reported that before there are more troops deployed to Iraq, generals will run it by the Prime Minister first and then move forward. But if al-Abadi believes the same number reported is there and finds there are actually more - assuming he doesn't know - it could cost al-Abadi, politically.