News / USA

    Obama Outlines US Plans to Aid Iraq

    Obama Sending 300 Military Advisers to Iraqi
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    Luis Ramirez
    June 20, 2014 1:15 AM
    U.S. President Barack Obama is sending up to 300 military advisers to help Iraq's government fight the country's Islamist insurgents. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
    Watch related video by VOA's Luiz Ramirez
    VOA News
    U.S. President Barack Obama said the United States "will be prepared to take targeted and precise military action" to blunt the rapid advance of Islamic militants that have been spreading sectarian violence in Iraq.

    The president, speaking Thursday from the White House briefing room, outlined a multipart plan to help prevent Iraq from descending into outright civil war. It includes sending up to 300 military advisers, along with increasing security and surveillance in the war-torn country.

    The plan does not entail sending combat troops, Obama emphasized. 

    "American combat troops are not going to be fighting in Iraq again," he said, repeating a point he made last Friday. "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 [have] already been expended in Iraq.

    "Ultimately, this is something that is going to have to be solved by the Iraqis."
     
    Iraq's ethnic religious areasIraq's ethnic religious areas
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    Iraq's ethnic religious areas
    Iraq's ethnic religious areas

    The administration's goal is to help defeat militant fighters – led by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) – who have swept through parts of Iraq, seizing control of key cities and assets and threatening the capital, Baghdad.

    The group also is known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

    Obama said the U.S. already has been "working to secure our embassy and personnel in Iraq," relocating some and sending in reinforcements to safeguard facilities.

    The administration had been weighing whether to press Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, a Shi'ite, to step down in a last-ditch effort to prevent disgruntled Sunnis from igniting a civil war.

    'It's not the place for the United States to choose Iraq's leaders," the president said Thursday. Instead, he called for the establishment of a new parliament as soon as possible.
     

    The White House has conditioned any support of the Iraqi government on the prime minister abandoning what Washington sees as destructive sectarian rule. Instead, the U.S. has urged the Shiite prime minister to implement a more inclusive structure, with representation for Sunni and Kurdish factions, too.

    Obama, emphasizing the need for diplomacy, said he is sending Secretary of State John Kerry this weekend for meetings in the Middle East and Europe. Kerry, in a news briefing Thursday afternoon with New Zealand Prime Minister John Key, said he will meet next week with NATO allies in Brussels. 

    A consistent message

    Vice President Joe Biden, in a phone call to the Iraqi leader on Wednesday, also had driven home the U.S. message that al-Maliki needs to lead all Iraqis, not just Shiites.
     
    Biden told al-Maliki that he must govern in an "inclusive manner, promote stability and unity among Iraq's population, and address the legitimate needs of Iraq's diverse communities," a White House statement said.

    But to date, Maliki's government has relied almost entirely on his fellow Shi'ites and volunteers for support, with government officials denouncing Sunni political leaders as traitors.

    On Thursday, Maliki announced that Iraq's government is offering volunteers $644 a month to fight alongside the country's security forces in "hot areas" battling the insurgency, and that the government will pay non-fighting volunteers who aid security forces $450 a month. He also promised all volunteers will receive an extra food allowance.

    Security and surveillance

    In his comments Thursday, Obama said the United States will further increase its support for security in Iraq to contain terrorist threats. 

    It already has "significantly increased" its intelligence and surveillance efforts "to get a better picture of ISIL" and its movements in the region, Obama said.

    Senior administration officials say measures are intended to signal human rights abusers that they’re being monitored and that their actions will have consequences, Reuters reports.

    Military plans

    Obama said the United States would send up to 300 military advisers and set up joint operation centers to share intelligence.

    Al-Maliki had asked the president to target militants with airstrikes.

    Obama said that his administration had "positioned more U.S. military assets" in the region and that the country "will be prepared to take targeted and precise military action" -- after obtaining congressional support.

    A senior defense official told VOA  the U.S. military has been ready to direct any of several military options in Iraq.

    The military has held back because of Iraq’s deteriorating internal political situation, the official said, adding that any military response must be supported by political actions and goals that would help deal with the crisis.

    The United States withdrew its military troops from Iraq in 2011 after eight years of fighting there.

    Retired U.S. Army General Jack Keene said Iraq urgently needs an intelligence apparatus like the one U.S. forces had in place before the withdrawal.

    "We would download all of our national theater and local intelligence systems, so we have true 'situational awareness,' a military term that tells you what is the enemy doing, where is the enemy: who, what, when, where," Keene said.

    "When we pulled out of there in 2011, that screen for Maliki went blank," he added. "We took all of that capability with us. ... We have to put that back."

    Role of neighboring Iran

    On Thursday, responding to a question, Obama said Iran can play a constructive role in Iraq if it follows the U.S. lead in pressing for the establishment of an inclusive government there. 

    But the president warned that Iran could worsen the situation if it comes into the conflict solely as an armed force backing Iraq's Shiite-led government.
     
    The United States has deep differences with Iran on several issues, he said, adding that the bloody crisis in Syria partly stems from Iran coming in "hot and heavy on one side."
     
    Obama said if Iran views the region "solely through sectarian frames," Iranians could find themselves fighting in a whole lot of places at the expense of the Iranian economy and the Iranian people.

    VOA's Jeff Seldin contributed to this report from the Pentagon and Luis Ramirez contributed from the White House. Some information was provided by Reuters, AP and AFP.

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    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: James Green
    June 21, 2014 4:15 AM
    Congressional support will be the "proverbial stumbling block" to preventing military action and herein lies the problem. If ISIS is allowed free reign, America and the West will be at risk, and this is
    the ultimate reality, ironic but true.

    by: John Poole from: Ardmore, PA
    June 20, 2014 9:52 AM
    Obama seems to relish using the phrase,"Blood and Treasure", perhaps hoping to sound Churchillian. I'm guessing that very few America's warriors bleed to death on the battlefield today and suggest an update for him to use. What about"Limbs and Treasure"?

    by: Mrs. B. Martin from: Location
    June 19, 2014 9:38 PM
    “The problem, U.S. counter-terrorism and intelligence officials tell The Daily Beast, is that there are just so many jihadists with Western passports traveling to fight in Syria that they worry some of them may slip back into the United States without being detected,” Lake writes.

    He then quotes Matthew Olsen, the director of the National Counter-Terrorism Center, who told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in March hundreds of terrorists have Western passports and they “could return to their home countries to commit violence on their own initiative or participate in al Qaeda-directed plots.”


    Prior to the September 11, 2001, attack the CIA arranged passports and visas for veterans of its covert war in Afghanistan. This was confirmed by the former head of the American visa bureau in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, Michael Springman, who told then BBC journalist Greg Palast in November, 2001, he “was repeatedly ordered by high level State Dept officials to issue visas to unqualified applicants” who were allowed to enter the United States.



    Months before the September 11 attacks Shayna Steinger, a consular official, issued 12 visas to the alleged hijackers at the consulate in Jeddah. A State Department memo states Steinger issued 11 visas to the hijackers, but one additional visa was issued by a second consular officer.

    Terrorists Trained by the U.S. Military

    Earlier this week, Aaron Klein, reporting for WorldNetDaily, revealed that members of ISIS fighting against the al-Assad government in Syria were trained by U.S. military instructors in Jordan. According to Jordanian officials, the trainees “were first vetted for any links to extremist groups like al-Qaida.”

    ISIS emerged from the ranks of al-Qaeda in Iraq and is considered more militant and extremist than al-Qaeda.

    Following the attacks of September 11, 2001, it was reported – and subsequently relegated to the memory hole – that a number of the purported hijackers were “trained in strategy and tactics” at the Naval Air Station in Pensacola, Florida, and the Air War College in Montgomery, Alabama, according to Newsweek.

    CIA Created Terrorists

    The CIA has a long history of hands-on experience with terrorists who have allegedly attacked the United States. Ramzi Yousef, the supposed mastermind of the 1993 World Trade Center bombing and the planned Bojinka attack, was recruited by the CIA and fought with the Mujahideen in Afghanistan.

    Ali Mohamed, a major in the Egyptian army recruited by the CIA, “trained most of al-Qaeda’s top leadership – including bin Laden and [Ayman] al-Zawahiri – and most of al-Qaeda’s top trainers. Mohamed taught surveillance, counter-surveillance, assassinations, kidnapping, codes, ciphers and other intelligence techniques,” U.S. prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald told the 9/11 Commission in 2004. “For five years he was moving back and forth between the US and Afghanistan.”

    “It’s impossible the CIA thought he was going there as a tourist. If the CIA hadn’t caught on to him, it should be dissolved and its budget used for something worthwhile,” Nabil Sharef, a university professor and former Egyptian intelligence officer, told The Wall Street Journal in November, 2001.

    Returning members of ISIS, now hyped as the next wave of domestic terror, are not tourists, either. If, as predicted by a range of offcials, including Rep. Peter King and Sen. Lindsey Graham, ISIS attacks inside America it will be part of a larger plan to expand and extend the war on terror and put the finishing touches on the surveillance and police state in America.

    This apparatus is not designed to protect against al-Qaeda or ISIS terrorists. The purpose is to spy on the American people, who are the real enemy, and make certain they cannot effectively challenge the political monopoly of the global elite.
    In Response

    by: John Poole from: Ardmore, PA
    June 20, 2014 10:08 AM
    You have to admit the DC elite use the bogeyman ruse well. It just never seems to fail.

    by: Chen from: USA
    June 19, 2014 9:27 PM
    Now that Qatar and Saudi Arabia are designated to take the blame for al-Qaeda and al-Qaeda affiliated terrorism, the role of the CIA and the United States is dutifully scrubbed from the narrative. VOA– as a primary propaganda conduit in the war on manufactured terror – has its work cut out for it.

    The spin required is offered by none other than Juan Zarate, who runs the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a think tank rife over the years with a rotating roster of insiders, including Zbigniew Brzezinski, Henry Kissinger, the neocon Michael Ledeen, Admiral Thomas Moorer, and others. It is funded in part by the billionaire heir to the Mellon family, Richard Scaife, who has murky connections to the CIA. Zarate’s organization also has connections to the Ford Foundation, which may as well be a branch office of the CIA.

    No matter where you look far and wide across the every expanding war on terror landscape you see landmarks left in place by the CIA and its partners. It is the job of VOA and the alphabet propaganda media to guide the average American away from the truth and build consensus for the next battle in a never ending war design to be unwinnable.
    In Response

    by: John Poole from: Ardmore, PA
    June 20, 2014 6:20 PM
    Sadly true in my opinion. All the old religions and ways of looking at existence are defunct. We need luck to keep from self extinguishing. VOA could end up inadvertently helping the masses come to different conclusions.

    by: Luke Jones
    June 19, 2014 3:04 PM
    To the US of A and the West, just please don't take your eyes off the situation and allow it to "root and spread". It has far reaching repercussions across the world as we all know too well and have seen for ourselves. Congressional support like the Syrian scenario hmm better not go there.

    by: Not Again from: Canada
    June 19, 2014 1:11 PM
    Let us hope Pres Obama, runs the various options through both houses, to get their input and buy into the strategy/actions he follows with; after all it was the Bush Administration, and many of the current houses' members that went along and even had high praise for the Maliki gvmt notwithstanding that he stabbed them in the back, by refusing to sign a status of forces agreement.

    In any case, no matter what Pres Obama does, he will be blamed for the smallest of issues, that will arise in Iraq, it is a no win situation politically and potentially militarily if Maliki does not resign. Even if Maliki was to resign, success is far from assured, success = Iraq is stabilized, the ISIL terrorists are stopped, the country becomes a multiethnic / multi-religeous federation and it returns on a path towards a basic rudimentary democracy. A very tall order.

    by: meanbill from: USA
    June 19, 2014 12:18 PM
    - Maliki isn't responsible for a deeply religious divided Iraq military, where the Sunni troops won't fight against the Sunni terrorists, and will actually join with the Sunni terrorists in fighting the Shia led government, and the Sunni troops will shoot the Shia troops in the back. --- (Not a pretty picture is it?)

    - Maliki can only disarm the Sunni troops, or segregate the Sunni troops from the Shia troops, but some Sunni troops would still infiltrate the Shia troops. -- Maliki can't trust, (or turn his back), on any of the Iraq Sunni troops, can he? --- (not a pretty picture is it?).

    NOW PICTURE THIS? -- The US blames Maliki for the religious war with the Sunni (ISIL) terrorists, and other Sunni terrorists. -- BUT IN DEFENSE?) -- Maliki has to fight this war against Sunni terrorists, with an army that's comprised of about 50% of Sunni troops, who can't be trusted? --- (Not a pretty picture is it?). --- And those US people who blame Maliki for Iraq's problems, haven't a clue on what Maliki is dealing with.. .

    by: Anonymous
    June 19, 2014 12:10 PM
    So where the bleep is the link to this live statement?
    In Response

    by: Jack from: USA
    June 19, 2014 9:26 PM
    You are a VERY ODD individual.

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