President Obama: U.S. Troops Won't Go Back To Iraq, Because "It's Up To The Iraqis To Solve Their Problems"
Just a day after insurgents captured a major Iraqi city, President Obama announced U.S. troops won’t be deployed to Iraq in spite of surging violence from Islamist militants. The president, who addressed the media on the White House South Lawn Friday morning, made it clear that there will be no American troops on the ground in the Middle Eastern country that the U.S. occupied for roughly a decade. Obama withdrew U.S. soldiers from Iraq in 2011 — a move that's now drawing criticism from Republicans in Congress, including Sen. John McCain.
Obama said in his address:
The U.S. will do our part. But understand that ultimately it's up to the Iraqis, as a sovereign nation, to solve their problems. ... The U.S. simply is not going to get involved in a military action without assurances in the absence of a political plan by the Iraqis that gives us some assurance that they’re prepared to work together.
The president called the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant a "vicious organization," and acknowledged that it "poses a danger" to not only Iraq, but also America. Obama said he is looking into other options to aid the Iraqi people, and will decide in the upcoming days if the U.S. will take military action. According to ABC News, these options may include airstrikes using manned warplanes or drones. The U.S. has reportedly sent the Iraqi military rockets and missiles over the last several months.
The Islamist militants are reportedly closing in on Baghdad, the Iraq capital that's home to more than 7 million people. The militants have already taken hold of two Iraqi cities, including Mosul, the nation's second-largest city. The insurgents are backed by Sunni tribal leaders, who clash with the country's Shiite leaders.
The Associated Press reported Friday that Iraq's top Shiite cleric is urging Iraqis to defend their country against the rebellion that is threatening peace and stability within the Iraq republic.