Obama sets pre-condition for action in Iraq

Updated - November 17, 2021 03:37 am IST

Published - June 14, 2014 08:46 am IST - Washington

President Barack Obama talks about his administration's response to a growing insurgency foothold in Iraq on Friday, in Washington.

President Barack Obama talks about his administration's response to a growing insurgency foothold in Iraq on Friday, in Washington.

President Barack Obama has said that U.S. will not indulge in a military action against the Islamist militant group ISIL in Iraq in absence of a political plan by the Iraqi government.

“I want to make sure that everybody understands this message -- the U.S. is not simply going to involve itself in a military action in the absence of a political plan by the Iraqis that gives us some assurance that they’re prepared to work together,” Mr. Obama told reporters at the White House.

“We’re not going to allow ourselves to be dragged back into a situation in which while we’re there, we’re keeping a lid on things, and after enormous sacrifices by us, as soon as we’re not there, suddenly people end up acting in ways that are not conducive to the long-term stability and prosperity of the country,” Mr. Obama said.

Meanwhile, the Pentagon said U.S. Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel has met with senior military leaders over the last 36 hours to discuss events on the ground, and to prepare options for the President’s consideration.

“I won’t detail those options, but I can tell you they cover a wide range of military capabilities and will be designed to help break the momentum of ISIL’s progress and bolster Iraqi security forces.

“But clearly, any decision to employ these options rests solely with the commander in chief,” Pentagon Press Secretary Rear Admiral John Kirby said.

For several months now, the Pentagon has been working in close coordination with State Department to augment the capabilities of Iraqi security forces.

“Our focus has been on increasing their capacity to defend themselves and their people and remain responsible for taking on the threats over the long term,” he said.

“In March, the U.S. delivered a hundred Hellfire missiles on an expedited timetable, bringing the total to some 300. That’s in addition to millions of rounds of small-arms fire, tank ammunition, helicopter-fired rockets.

“Late last year, U.S. delivered additional armed scout helicopters to the Iraqi armed forces, and a few weeks ago we notified Congress of an additional $1 billion in foreign military sales,” he added.

“The (U.S. Defence) Secretary believes it is imperative that Iraq and its neighbours have strong security forces to meet evolving threats from the violence that’s spilling over certainly from Syria’s borders. We are fully committed to that effort,” Mr. Kirby told reporters.

State Department Deputy Spokesperson Marie Harf, however, said that Mr. Obama has not made any decision yet concerning military assistance to Iraq.

“He (Obama) has not made a decision yet in terms of how to take short-term steps to help the Iraqis and assist in this fight.

“What we’ve said is that anything we do needs to absolutely be coupled with a commitment from the Iraqi Government and its leaders to pull their country together, to step up to the plate and to stop doing some of the things that have led in part to vulnerabilities within the Iraqi Government and the security forces,” she said.

The U.S., she said, has increased its surveillance capabilities and sharing of intelligence with the Iraqis.

“All of this builds into this picture that the President mentioned, we need to take a little time to make the decision, to develop options, and to get as much intelligence and information as possible if we decide to take action,” she said.

Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham agreed with Obama and said “We have long said the same. However, the recent advance of al-Qaeda-linked fighters has created a more urgent security problem: the grave risk of renewed sectarian conflict in Iraq and the expansion of what is already the largest terrorist safe haven in history.”

“This is not just Iraq’s problem. It is also a growing threat to the U.S. and our partners and allies. Therefore, while we continue to urge Iraqi leaders to unify and reconcile, our most immediate priority must be to reverse the advance of a terrorist force that is more radical, violent, and ambitious than al-Qaeda,” the senators said.

They advocated use of air strikes by the U.S. to deal with situation in Iraq.

“We see no way to achieve this goal without U.S. air strikes, among other military and intelligence actions and additional support for our Iraqi partners.

“A delayed or weak response from the United States will only deepen the Iraqi government’s dependence on Iran, and destroy the prospects of national reconciliation,” they said.

0 / 0
Sign in to unlock member-only benefits!
  • Access 10 free stories every month
  • Save stories to read later
  • Access to comment on every story
  • Sign-up/manage your newsletter subscriptions with a single click
  • Get notified by email for early access to discounts & offers on our products
Sign in


Comments have to be in English, and in full sentences. They cannot be abusive or personal. Please abide by our community guidelines for posting your comments.

We have migrated to a new commenting platform. If you are already a registered user of The Hindu and logged in, you may continue to engage with our articles. If you do not have an account please register and login to post comments. Users can access their older comments by logging into their accounts on Vuukle.