President Obama Puts Iraq Under Watch

President Obama is taking a second look at Iraq given the latest development where the Islamist terrorists group ISIL threatens to create havoc in their path to overrunning the country.

In an address given from the South Lawn of the White House, the president said, “Over the last several days, we’ve seen significant gains made by ISIL, a terrorist organization that operates in both Iraq and in Syria.  In the face of a terrorist offensive, Iraqi security forces have proven unable to defend a number of cities, which has allowed the terrorists to overrun a part of Iraq’s territory.  And this poses a danger to Iraq and its people.  And given the nature of these terrorists, it could pose a threat eventually to American interests as well.”

Photo Credit: Whitehouse - President Barack Obama.
Photo Credit: Whitehouse – President Barack Obama.

He further stated that over the last year the U.S. have been steadily increasing security support to the Iraqi government by way of training, and intelligence. He noted that given the unfolding events in Iraq it was cause for concern and additional support was necessary to break the momentum of the extremist group ISIL and bolster the capabilities of Iraqi security forces.

The President, however, emphasized that the United States will not send any troops back into combat in Iraq, although he has asked his national security team to prepare other options to support Iraqi security forces. He also made clear in his remarks that the current situation “is not solely or even primarily a military challenge.”

“Over the past decade, American troops have made extraordinary sacrifices to give Iraqis an opportunity to claim their own future.  Unfortunately, Iraq’s leaders have been unable to overcome too often the mistrust and sectarian differences that have long been simmering there, and that’s created vulnerabilities within the Iraqi government as well as their security forces.

So any action that we may take to provide assistance to Iraqi security forces has to be joined by a serious and sincere effort by Iraq’s leaders to set aside sectarian differences, to promote stability, and account for the legitimate interests of all of Iraq’s communities, and to continue to build the capacity of an effective security force.  We can’t do it for them.  And in the absence of this type of political effort, short-term military action, including any assistance we might provide, won’t succeed,“ he said.

The President further said,”Iraq’s leaders have to demonstrate a willingness to make hard decisions and compromises on behalf of the Iraqi people in order to bring the country together,” President Obama said. “In that effort, they will have the support of the United States and our friends and our allies.”

Yvad Billings, Readers Bureau, Fellow