News / Middle East

Obama: 'Range of US Options' on Iraq

Obama Says No US Troops in Iraqi
X
Luis Ramirez
June 13, 2014 11:49 PM
President Barack Obama is monitoring events in Iraq and will decide in the next few days how to help Iraqi forces -- as insurgents of the radical Islamist group, the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, ISIL, seize more of the country. VOA White House Correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from the White House.
Obama Says No US Troops in Iraq
VOA News
President Barack Obama says his national security advisers are preparing "a range of options" for U.S. assistance to Iraq's government as it faces an assault by al-Qaida inspired Islamist militants.

Speaking at the White House Friday, President Obama said the course of U.S. action will become clear "in the days ahead." He said no American troops will be sent to Iraq. 

The president said the militants who have overrun parts of Iraq are a threat to the Baghdad government and people throughout the country, and pose an active threat to American interests as well. He said division among Iraq's leadership has led to the current crisis.

"Over the past decade, American troops have made extraordinary sacrifices to give Iraqis an opportunity to claim their own future," Obama said. "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."

Obama said U.S. assistance to Iraq must be matched with a "serious and sincere" effort by Iraq's leaders to work together and set aside differences, and to improve their security forces. He said in the absence of any type of political effort, short-term military assistance will not succeed.

In a development Saturday, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said his country is ready to help Iraq, if asked, and would consider working with Tehran's longtime foe, the United States in fighting Sunni extremists if Washington decides to take strong action against the fighters.  Iran has developed close ties in recent years with the Shi'ite led government in Baghdad.

In quick strikes this week, militants of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, or ISIL, took control of Mosul, Iraq's second largest city, and advanced within 90 kilometers of Baghdad.

Late Thursday, ISIL fighters seized the towns of Jalawla and Saadiyah in the ethnically divided eastern province of Diyala.

A spokesman for the Sunni militants, who wish to install an Islamic government, vowed they would push into Baghdad and on to Karbala, a city southwest of Baghdad that is one of the holiest sites for Shi'ite Muslims.

The forces of Iraq's Shi'ite-led government have seemingly been powerless to stop the advance, often abandoning their posts and fleeing, leaving weapons behind. 

A spokesman for United Nations human rights chief Navi Pillay said Friday the U.N. is receiving reports suggesting the number of people killed in Iraq in recent days may run into the hundreds, and the number of injured may be approaching 1,000. Pillay's office also said the militants are believed to be hunting down anyone associated with the Iraqi government. 

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry on Friday said he expects President Obama to decide quickly on what steps the U.S. will take about Iraq.  Speaking during a conference in London, Kerry also said Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki should do more to address the sectarian divide in his country. He said the fighting has served as a "wakeup call" to the Iraqi government.

Prime Minister Maliki this week sought to convene an emergency session of parliament to declare a national state of emergency.  But no quorum could be reached, as many of Iraq's Sunni and Kurdish lawmakers boycotted the session, objecting to handing Maliki, a Shi'ite, increased authority to combat the militants.

You May Like

Video One Year After Thai Coup, No End in Sight for Military Rule

Since carrying out the May 22, 2014 coup, the general has retired from the military but is still firmly in charge More

Goodbye, New York

This is what the fastest-growing big cities in America have in common More

Job-Seeking Bangladeshis Risk Lives to Find Work

The number of Bangladeshi migrants on smugglers’ boats bound for Southeast Asian countries has soared in the past two years More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: MUSTAFA from: INDIA
June 14, 2014 10:12 PM
If USA wants a durable peace in Middle East, then do not supply weapons and money to Terrorist Group. ISIL is branch of Al Qaida very well finance and equip by Saudi Arabia. USA must use it influence over SA, not to support Terrorist Group in ME. If there is no support to Terrorist Group then so many innocent peoples in Syria should not be killed in brute way by Al Qaida.

by: Anthonybellchambers from: London
June 14, 2014 5:41 PM

As the rapprochement between the United States and Iran deepens in their mutual support for the the Iraqi government, Israel is left looking isolated, weak and inconsequential.

At a stroke, Netanyahu's influence in Washington has all but disappeared as he becomes a virtual irrelevance in a conflict that is vastly more important to the international community than his illegal settlements. As are also his threats to attack Iran, the most stable state in the Middle East.

The real question, now, is what influence, if any, did the Israeli government have in persuading discredited former US President, George W Bush, to attack Saddam Hussein's Iraq, in 2003 - a move that has now given birth to the dangerous current instability that threatens the entire region - not to mention global oil supplies?

And the second question is: for how much longer will the US congress continue to vote billions of American tax-dollars to a state that is alleged to have been complicit in the Bush-Blair tragic fiasco that is alleged to have cost over 100,000 Iraqi, American and British lives when the so-called coalition of 'shock and awe' went to war without a mandate?
______________________________________________


Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs