President Barack Obama said U.S. airstrikes have blunted the momentum of Islamic State militants in Iraq, and that now a regional strategy is needed to "degrade and destroy" the group.
Obama told reporters Wednesday in Estonia that the U.S. will continue leading a broader effort against what he called the "barbaric and ultimately empty vision" that the Islamic State group represents.
"We know that if we are joined by the international community, we can continue to shrink ISIL’s sphere of influence, its effectiveness, its financing, its military capabilities to the point where it is a manageable problem," Obama said. "And the question is going to be making sure we’ve got the right strategy, but also making sure that we’ve got the international will to do it."
The president cautioned that the effort will take time, but expressed confidence that it can be successful.
The situation in Iraq will be among the topics discussed as Obama and other NATO leaders take part in a summit in Wales, starting Thursday.
Additional US troops
On Tuesday, Obama ordered another 350 U.S. military personnel to Iraq to protect American diplomats and facilities in Baghdad.
Pentagon spokesman Read Admiral John Kirby said the 350 additional military personnel, requested by the State Department, will not take on a combat role but will provide security to U.S. personnel at the U.S. Embassy compound and its support facilities.
Kirby said these additional troops build upon previous embassy security deployments announced in June, bringing the total number of security personnnel to 820.
The additional joint forces will come from within the U.S. Central Command and will include a headquarters element, medical personnel, associated helicopters, and an air liaison team, Kirby said in a statement on Tuesday.
In all, Kirby said, 405 U.S. military personnel will be sent to Baghdad to provide security to State Department staff.