President Obama is sending 300 military advisers to Iraq, but American forces will not be returning to combat. The U.S. “will continue to increase our support to Iraqi security forces,” he said in a press conference Thursday, in part by establishing joint operation centers to confront the Islamist terror group that’s taken over a number of Iraqi cities. He did leave the door open to more active intervention such as air strikes.
“ISIL poses a threat to the Iraqi people, to the region, and to U.S. interests,” Obama said.
“We will be prepared to take targeted and precise military action if and when we determine the situation requires it,” he said, but he emphasized that “the best and most effective response” will involve partnerships where local forces take the lead.
Obama is also sending Secretary of State John Kerry to Europe and the Middle East to consult allies and neighbors of Iraq.
“Above all, Iraqi leaders must rise above their differences and come together around a political plan for Iraq’s future,” Obama said.