News / USA

Pentagon: US Will Continue Limited Military Role in Iraq

U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, left, and Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey brief reporters at the Pentagon, July 3, 2014.
U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, left, and Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey brief reporters at the Pentagon, July 3, 2014.
VOA News

The Pentagon’s top officials say the United States will continue to limit its military support in Iraq to an advisory role, though they do not rule out the prospect of greater involvement if the threat by Islamic insurgents increases.

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and General Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said at a Pentagon news briefing Thursday that the U.S. continues to assess the chaotic situation in Iraq.   

But none of the 750 U.S. troops now in Iraq are performing combat missions, and “none will,” Hagel said. He said the role of the United States is limited to assessing and advising Iraqis and protecting Americans and U.S. assets.

The U.S. has sent 300 military advisers and has reinforced its security support for U.S. embassy and the airport, the Associated Press reported.

Though fighters with the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant retain control of numerous cities and large swaths of territory, they are “stretched right now,” Dempsey said, a situation that lessens the urgency for any direct U.S. action.

Iraqi security forces are capable of defending Baghdad, though they’re logistically challenged to go on the offensive, Dempsey said.

But he noted it would be difficult for the U.S. to launch airstrikes against the insurgents because anti-government Sunni groups have intermingled with ISIL. 

“It would be a tough challenge to separate them if we were to take a decision to strike,” Dempsey said.

Hagel said the U.S. military has opened a second joint operations center in the northern Iraqi city of Irbil.

The U.S. goal is to give Iraqis more time to develop a political solution to quell the violence that has wracked the country.

“We’re helping to provide our diplomats time and space to work with Sunni, Kurd and Shia political leaders” to form a new unity government," Hagel said. 

Iraq’s future depends on its ability to form an inclusive government, Dempsey said.

Unless Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s current Shiite-led government allows all groups to participate, Dempsey said, “everything we’re talking about makes no difference.”

VOA's Jeff Seldin contributed to this report from the Pentagon.

You May Like

At International AIDS Conference One Goal, Many Paths

The 12,000 delegates attending 20th International AIDS Conference in Melbourne have vastly different visions about how to eradicate disease More

Disasters May Doom Malaysia’s Flag Carrier

Even before loss of two jets loaded with passengers on international flights, company had been operating in red for three years, accumulating deficit of $1.3 billion More

Afghan Presidential Vote Audit Continues Despite Glitches

Process has been marred by walkouts by representatives of two competing candidates, Abdullah Abdullah and Ashraf Ghani More

Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Agei
X
Elizabeth Lee
July 20, 2014 2:36 AM
Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Chicago’s Argonne Lab Developing Battery of the Future

In 2012, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science awarded a $120 million grant to a new technology center focused on battery development - headquartered at Argonne National Laboratory in suburban Chicago, Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there scientists are making the next technological breakthroughs in energy storage.
Video

Video In NW Pakistan, Army Offensive Causes Massive Number of Displaced

Pakistan’s army offensive in North Waziristan has resulted in the large-scale displacement of the local population. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from northwest Pakistan where authorities say around 80 percent of the estimated 1 million internally displaced persons [IDPs] have settled in Bannu district, while much of the remaining 20 percent are scattered in nearby cities.
Video

Video Kurdish Peshmerga Force Secures Kirkuk, Its Oil

The Kurdistan regional government has sent its Peshmerga troops into the adjacent province of Kirkuk to drive out insurgents, and to secure the area's rich oil fields. By doing this, the regional government has added a fourth province to the three it officially controls. The oil also provides revenue that could make an independent Kurdistan economically strong. VOA’s Jeffrey Young went out with the Peshmerga and filed this report.
Video

Video Malaysia Reeling: Second Air Disaster in Four Months

Malaysia is reeling from the second air disaster in four months involving the country’s flag carrier. Flight 340 vanished in March and despite an extensive search, no debris has been found. And on Thursday, Flight 17, likely hit by a surface-to-air missile, came apart over eastern Ukraine. The two incidents together have left more than 500 people dead. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Kuala Lumpur.
Video

Video Diplomatic Crisis Grows Over MH17 Plane Crash

The Malaysia Airlines crash in eastern Ukraine is drawing reaction from leaders around the world. With suspicions growing that a surface-to-air missile shot down the aircraft, there are increasing tensions in the international community over who is to blame. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Undocumented Immigrants Face Perilous Journey to US, No Guarantees

Every day, hundreds of undocumented immigrants from Central America attempt the arduous journey through Mexico and turn themselves over to U.S. border patrol -- with the hope that they will not be turned away. But the dangers they face along the way are many, and as Ramon Taylor reports from the Rio Grande Valley in Texas, their fate rests on more than just the reception they get at the US border.
Video

Video Scientists Create Blackest Material Ever

Of all the black things in the universe only the infamous "black holes" are so black that not even a tiny amount of light can bounce back. But scientists have managed to create material almost as black, and it has enormous potential use. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Fog Collector Transforming Maasai Water Harvesting in Kenya

The Maasai people of Kenya are known for their cattle-herding, nomadic lifestyle. But it's an existence that depends on access to adequate water for their herds and flocks. Lenny Ruvaga reports for VOA, on a "fog collector."

AppleAndroid