Obama sets pre-condition for action in Iraq

Written by Press Trust of India | Washington | Updated: Jun 14 2014, 14:14pm hrs
President Barack Obama has said that US 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 US 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," 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," Obama said.

Meanwhile, the Pentagon said US 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 US 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, US delivered additional armed scout helicopters to the Iraqi armed forces, and a few weeks ago we notified Congress of an additional USD1 billion in foreign military sales," he added.

"The (US 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," Kirby told reporters.