At the White House Friday, President Obama addressed the growing trouble in Iraq arguing that leaders there need to take responsibility to solve their own nation’s problems.
The danger they face is the terrorist group ISIL who have seized several cities in Iraq as local security forces have been unable or unwilling to fend them off. Obama said that despite assistance from the U.S. equipping the Iraqi government over the last year, they now need “additional support” to defend against these terrorists.
The president said that he has asked his security team to prepare a range of options that do not include sending U.S. troops back into combat in Iraq. Those options, he said, will be reviewed in the days ahead.
In his statement, Obama recognized the “extraordinary sacrifices” made by American troops in the region in order to give the people of Iraq a taste of freedom. But noting that the U.S. can not do this for them again, the president said it’s time for Iraqi’s leaders to step up and “solve their problems:”
We will not be sending U.S. troops back into combat in Iraq, but I have asked my national security team to prepare a range of other options that could help support Iraq’s security forces. And I’ll be reviewing those options in the days ahead.
I do want to be clear, though. This is not solely, or even primarily, a military challenge. Over the past decade, American troops have made extraordinary sacrifices to give Iraqis and opportunity to claim their own future. Unfortunately, Iraqi 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.
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