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Obama: US will send up to 300 military advisers to Iraq

Obama to Send Military Advisors to Iraq

By LARA JAKES and JULIE PACE

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Edging back into a military role in Iraq, President Barack Obama on Thursday said he was dispatching up to 300 military advisers to help quell the rising insurgency in the crumbling state. He called on Iraqi leaders to govern with a more "inclusive agenda" to ensure the country does not descend into civil war.

Though not specifically mentioning airstrikes, an option the U.S. has been considering, Obama said he was leaving open the possibility of "targeted" military action in the future. He said the U.S. also would increase its intelligence efforts in Iraq and was creating joint operations centers with Iraqis.

When coupled with previously announced steps, Obama's actions could put about 600 additional U.S. troops back on the ground in Iraq. The 300 military advisers he announced Thursday would join up to 275 being positioned in and around Iraq to provide security and support for the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad and other American interests.

But he was adamant that U.S. troops would not be returning to combat.

"We do not have the ability to simply solve this problem by sending in tens of thousands of troops and committing the kinds of blood and treasure that has already been expended in Iraq," Obama told reporters in the White House briefing room. "Ultimately, this is something that is going to have to be solved by Iraqis."

Sketching a dire situation, Obama called this a moment when "the state of Iraq hangs in the balance" and cautioned that "there's not going to be a simple military solution."

He stopped short of calling for Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki to resign, saying "it's not our job to choose Iraq's leaders." But he said those leaders "must rise above their differences and come together" for the sake of their nation.

"Let's not plunge this back into the abyss," he said.

Obama spoke after meeting with his national security team to discuss military options and consider how strongly to press al-Maliki to undertake changes and make his government more inclusive. Top U.S. officials believe that giving more credence to Sunni concerns about al-Maliki may offer the best opportunity to stave off another deadly round of sectarian fighting of the kind that engulfed Iraq less than a decade ago.

U.S. officials have been concerned that pushing al-Maliki too hard might stiffen his resolve to stay in office and drive him closer to Iran, which is seeking to keep the Shiite leader in power. However the administration does want to see evidence of a leadership transition plan being put in place in Iraq.

Speaking in advance of the president's announcement, House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi voiced concern about Obama dispatching even a small contingent of Americans to Iraq.

"I think that you have to be careful sending special forces because that's a number that has a tendency to grow. And so I'd like to see the context, purpose, timeline and all the rest for anything like that," Pelosi told reporters at her weekly news conference.

Separately, Republican House Speaker John Boehner said he couldn't tell if limited airstrikes would be effective until more was known about overall U.S. strategy.

He said Obama must craft a strategy for combating terrorism in the entire Middle East, not just Iraq. He declared, "This is a very serious problem, very serious."

Boehner, R-Ohio, told reporters that he's long called on Obama to take more action against terrorism, which he said has "increased exponentially" under this administration.

"You look at this presidency, and you can't help but get the sense that the wheels are coming off," Boehner said.

Boehner and Pelosi were among the congressional leaders who met with Obama on Iraq Wednesday. The leaders said the president told him they do not believe he needs authorization from Congress for some steps he might take to quell the al-Qaida-inspired insurgency

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wynn12 June 19 2014 at 2:14 PM

Get off of the TV screen and go back to the golf course where you belong..You are worthless and the enemy. We dont want or need you. GO AWAY

Flag Reply +99 rate up
14 replies
ryan4820 June 19 2014 at 2:10 PM

Why don't Obama, Biden, Reid and Polosi personally go over there and convince ISIS to love Americans? Problem solve; at least for the US.

Flag Reply +99 rate up
44 replies
rawhideken June 19 2014 at 2:10 PM

he does not have a clue

Flag Reply +99 rate up
11 replies
tneill1031 June 19 2014 at 2:12 PM

This how Vietnam started by another DEMOCRAT LIBERAL idiot.

Flag Reply +99 rate up
49 replies
ryan4820 June 19 2014 at 2:11 PM

Maybe O will make a decision when he stops wearing his butt as a hat.

Flag Reply +98 rate up
7 replies
tneill1031 June 19 2014 at 2:14 PM

Okay everybody "it's Bushes fault, It's Bushes fault" sick progressive .liberals

Flag Reply +95 rate up
20 replies
abqduk June 19 2014 at 2:17 PM

Awe! Hell no. Obama doesn't have to consult Congress about ANYTHING, that is why the US is the laughing stock with EVER middle eastern countries. Obama is "The King" and his attitude towards anyone else is Piss on them. He has already proven that. Of all these 8 or more scandals what has he done to correct even one? He hasn't because he has his head up his ass like Harry Reid.

Flag Reply +88 rate up
13 replies
Truwriter June 19 2014 at 2:13 PM

While its easy to just say he has this messed up and easy for his stalwart defenders to do a futile Bush did it claim, there is one factor here that the voluntary state run media will talk all around and that is that Obama and Hillary armed the hordes who are storming Iraq. These are people they armed in Syria to help them overthrow the secular gov in Syria. Yes, the Obama administration has TWICE armed AlQ units with modern weapons, first in Libya to remove the secular gov there to install an Islamic one (no elections) and then in Syria. In fact Obama had promised the Brotherhood and AlQ units that he would give them US naval airpower just like in Libya (we killed 35,000 Libyans without so much as a howdy to the US Congress). Bizzare foreign policy? We armed the islamic extremists storming Iraq and now may become an ally to Iran. Yeah its messed up big time. Americans have very little information from which to make decisions and form opinions. These are some you seldom hear.

Flag Reply +83 rate up
26 replies
John June 19 2014 at 2:13 PM

I don't understand why the U.S. always has to be the country with boots on the ground. This is a muslim country. Why aren't other muslim countries helping? Because they all hate the U.S. and enjoy seeing American Military die for their muslim brothers.

Flag Reply +81 rate up
25 replies
dhendr3229 June 19 2014 at 2:15 PM

He will then ignore ever recommendation they offer...Then he will trade more Taliban nut jobs for a jaywalker.

Flag Reply +71 rate up
1 reply
belldon10 dhendr3229 June 19 2014 at 4:59 PM

When have the teapubs ever recommended anything, or proposed anything, of done anything but obstruct.

Flag Reply +9 rate up
36 replies
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