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    Default Obama Surrenders Iraq

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    Obama’s Iraq Surrender


    May 31, 2013 by Arnold Ahlert 214 Comments

    Arnold Ahlert is a former NY Post op-ed columnist currently contributing to JewishWorldReview.com, HumanEvents.com and CanadaFreePress.com. He may be reached at atahlert@comcast.net



    After almost a century of existence, the borders that form the modern Mideast nation states appear to be on the verge of disintegration. Part of the driving force behind this meltdown, as observers are beginning to acknowledge, is of course the intractable sectarian war in Syria. But a far bigger part of the picture is the accelerating destabilization of Iraq. The breakdown of Iraq, with its far-reaching regional ramifications, is attributable in no small part to President Obama’s abandonment of the U.S.’s mission in the country, a betrayal committed in total defiance of the military establishment’s recommendations, which squandered the hard-won victory handed down by President Bush. As predicted, our precipitous withdrawal has left the once pacified nation riven with sectarian strife, primarily among Sunni and Shia Muslims and the Kurds. As the region descends, the consequences of Obama’s folly are only becoming more obvious: a nation that once stood a chance at being a source of stability in the region is instead rapidly becoming its maelstrom.

    In 1916, Sir Mark Sykes of Britain and Georges Picot of France signed a secret agreement, with Russia’s approval, to dissolve the Ottoman Empire. The Sykes-Picot agreement was concerned with creating Middle East spheres of influence for France and Great Britain following their victory in WWl. The League of Nations facilitated the mandates over the territory captured by both nations. France got Syria and Lebanon, and Britain got Iraq. The agreement also separated the British mandatory Palestine, known by its Arab residents prior to WWI as “Surya al-Janubiyya” (Southern Syria), from the French mandatory of Syria to the north. For its approval of the deal, Russia received territory that eventually became Turkey.

    Thus, the artificial borders of five countries were established. In the ensuing years, two critical realities were also realized: in Syria, the Alawite minority, the sect to which current president Bashar Assad belongs, was granted power over the Sunni majority. In Iraq, the Sunni minority was empowered at the expense of the Shi’ite majority. In other words, borders created to satisfy European sensibilities largely ignored the realities of historic ethnic, tribal and sectarian divisions. these divisions were exacerbated by the rise of dictators, tyrants and Arab monarchs who maintained power after the French and British withdrew in the middle of last century.
    It is those divisions that are now asserting themselves.

    The current flashpoint involves the 370 mile border separating Iraq from Syria. The civil war on the Syrian side has drawn everyone in the region into the conflict. On the Shi’ite side, troops from Iran and their Lebanese-based proxy, Hezbollah, have aligned themselves with Bashar Assad. Troops from Saudi Arabia and Qatar are fighting on the side of the rebels, along with elements of al Qaeda. Turkey also has Sunni allies in Syria, but their main ambition appears to be separating Kurdish elements from both Syria and Iraq, because they have made peace with the Kurdish rebels within their own borders, and are seeking to expand their regional influence as a result.

    Then there is Russia. They have proposed a “peace” conference scheduled for June 15-16 in Geneva, Switzerland, as an attempt to end the two years of fighting in Syria. Yet their motives are profoundly transparent, as evidenced by the reality that they have reportedly shipped anti-aircraft S-300 rockets to Assad. This move preempts any effort by Western nations to establish a “no-fly” zone over Syrian airspace (an idea the Obama administrated toyed with, but never followed through on), thereby tipping the balance of power in Assad’s favor. Yet more importantly, it establishes that Russia’s position at the peace conference will be an effort to dictate post-war terms, with the intention of keeping Assad in power. Since rebel forces consider this completely antithetical to their ambitions, the fighting will undoubtedly continue.

    The most likely outcome of that fighting is a stalemate leading to the breakup of Syria into three mini-states, respectively controlled by Kurds, Sunnis and Alawites. Since most of the Alawites live in the coastal corridor that includes Damascus, even this seemingly chaotic scenario accrues to Russian interests. They maintain an influence in the region, and they will still have their naval base in Tartous.

    On the Iraqi side of the border, the developments are even more ominous. Despite being largely ignored by the American media, the disintegration of Iraq is continuing rapidly. The deaths of 700 Iraqis killed in sectarian violence throughout the country in April represents the largest number of casualties in the last five years. In the northern part of Iraq, the province of Iraqi Kurdistan has, for all intents and purposes, dissolved its ties with the Shia-dominated government of Nouri al-Maliki in Baghdad. They are in the process of cutting autonomous deals with international oil companies, and next September a new pipeline will carry oil from Kurdistan to Turkey linking them to their Kurdish brethren in that region. In the process they have ignored U.S. opposition to any oil exports “without the appropriate approval of the Iraqi federal government.”

    Iraqi Sunnis, who held a vise-like grip on power during the days of Saddam Hussein, have little incentive to remain united with the current government either. In late April, after Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) opened fire on Sunni protesters in Hawija, Kirkuk, killing 20 and wounding over 100, Sunni tribal militia began mobilizing against the government. Several clashes between the ISF and the militias have taken place, with thousands of tribe members in Kirkuk and Salah ad-Din vowing to seek revenge. Other clashes have broken out in the Anbar provice cities of Ramadi and Fallujah as well. In Mosul, protesters demanded a withdrawal of government forces.

    Furthermore, the efforts of Sunni leaders to maintain ties to the Maliki government have undermined their credibly with their constituents, who see them as sellouts to a regime that has consistently ignored the concerns of Sunnis. Many Sunnis are convinced that Maliki is intent on establishing a “Shi’ite crescent” in conjunction with Iran. The Sunni counterweight to that reality is their alliance with Sunni rebels in Syria. That effectively obliterates the Syrian-Iraqi border, and establishes the possibility that they will precipitate a civil war with Maliki to realize a separate state comprised of Sunnis from both nations.

    In a column for the Washington Post, former Ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker explains that the battle in Hawija represented a critical turning point in the effort to keep Iraq united. Yet far more importantly, he inadvertently reveals the fecklessness of President Obama’s politically motivated and premature withdrawal of American troops from the country. “Al-Qaeda in Iraq has already begun to reestablish itself in areas that Iraqi and U.S. forces cleared at enormous cost over the past five years,” he writes.
    And Jabhat al-Nusra, al-Qaeda in Iraq’s front group in Syria, is attempting to hijack the secular resistance to Syrian President Bashar al*Assad. These developments threaten not only to unravel the gains made since 2007, but also to energize the forces of violent extremism in the heart of the Arab world, already burning in Syria.
    Crocker further notes the current Sunni-Shi’ite confrontation is reminiscent of the one which occurred in 2006 that precipitated the troop surge so vehemently opposed by Obama and the Left. Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) declared that the war in Iraq was “lost” before the troops even arrived in country. Yet Crocker notes that, as a result of the hard-won security established by those troops, “Sunni and Shiite leaders opted to resolve their differences through accommodation rather than through violence.” He believes the current impasse can be resolved by “a sustained, high-level diplomatic effort.” Yet absent the presence of U.S. troops to add weight to that diplomatic effort, such a prescription appears hopeless.

    On Friday, October 21, 2011, President Obama, in a statement similar to the one he made last week regarding the war on terror in general, “declared” that the war in Iraq was over. “I can report that, as promised, the rest of our troops in Iraq will come home by the end of the year,” Obama said. “After nearly nine years, America’s war in Iraq will be over.” In doing so, he ignored the advice of military commanders who insisted a minimum of 20,000 troops should be left behind to ensure the stability that America’s fighting forces fought and died to establish. Thus, Obama has made a mockery of our soldiers’ sacrifices and snatched defeat from the jaws of victory — all so he could placate his leftist base.

    The tragic consequences of that decision are unfolding at a rapid pace. A complete — and bloody — realignment of the entire Middle East is occurring, none of which accrues to America’s interests. In the Middle East, the U.S. has traded possible stability for almost certain chaos. As for our new role in shaping events there, it is best described by NY Post columnist Benny Avni. “What are America’s interests in any of this?” he writes. “Doesn’t matter. By opting to sit out, we’ve basically forfeited any say in the outcome.”

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    Default Re: Obama Surrenders Iraq

    Iraq – Tens of Thousands of ISIS (al-Qaeda) Troops Move South Toward Bagdad – REPORT: President Obama Considering “Kinetic Military Action”

    Posted on June 11, 2014 by sundance

    IRAQ – The Islamic State of Iraq and the Sham continues its lightning advance southward after seizing control of Mosul, the country’s second largest city, and the province of Ninewa and other areas of Salahaddin and Kirkuk provinces yesterday. ISIS has now captured the Salahaddin cities of Bayji, which has Iraq’s largest oil refinery, and Tikrit, the provincial capital.



    ISIS units traveling in a convoy of more than 60 vehicles advanced into Bayji last night, and torched several government buildings, court houses, and police headquarters, according to ITAR-TASS and Reuters. ISIS fighters are said to have surrounded the refinery and sent a delegation to security forces who are holding out in the complex.

    After seizing Bayji, ISIS fighters moved to take control of Tikrit, the provincial capital and home town of former dictator Saddam Hussein.

    Tikrit is now said to be effectively under ISIS control. According to Samarra Al-Gharbiyah News, the provincial government center in Tikrit was overrun by ISIS fighters and Governor Ahmad Abdallah is reported to have been captured…




    ISIS also freed hundreds of prisoners being held in the city. More than 2,500 prisoners, many thought to be hardened jihadists, were also reportedly freed yesterday when ISIS took control of Mosul.

    In addition to taking control of Ninewa province yesterday, the ISIS captured several areas outside of Kirkuk and in Salahaddin province.

    ISIS’ blitzkrieg from Mosul to Tikrit covered nearly 250 miles in the span of several days. The majority of the Iraqi security forces in the way of the ISIS either abandoned their posts and weapons and equipment, or melted away after brief skirmishes.

    The scope of the operation, including the territory covered, indicates that tens of thousands of ISIS fighters participated in the recent fighting. (link)



    WASHINGTON — Iraq has privately signaled to the Obama administration that it would allow the U.S. to conduct airstrikes with drones or manned aircraft against al Qaeda militant targets on Iraqi territory, senior U.S. officials said Wednesday.



    The Obama administration is considering a number of options, including the possibility of providing “kinetic support” for the Iraqi military fighting al Qaeda rebels who seized two major cities north of Baghdad this week, according to a senior U.S. official who added that no decisions have been made.

    Officials declined to say whether the U.S. would consider conducting airstrikes with drones or manned aircraft.

    Iraq has long asked the U.S. to provide it with drones that could be used in such strikes, but Washington has balked at supplying them, officials said. (read more)
    Think Obama will consult with congress or seek congressional approval before launching offensive military action ?

    Not likely… He did not consult with congress prior to bombing in Libya.

    Continue reading →


    Lavrov: Iraq developments show total failure of American-British 'adventure'

    Published time: June 12, 2014 10:42
    Edited time: June 12, 2014 13:08 Get short URL


    Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov (AFP Photo / Olga Maltseva)

    The events in Iraq are a result of the actions carried out by the US and the UK, and the situation has spiraled out of control, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told journalists.

    “It has been reported that the UK foreign minister declared that the events in Iraq are, according to him, an illustration that terrorism is rampant in the region due to the absence of reconciliation in Syria,” Lavrov said.

    “We’ve known that our English colleagues have a unique ability to twist everything. But I didn’t expect such cynicism, because the events that are taking place in Iraq are an illustration of a complete failure of the venture started by the US and the UK that allowed it to spiral out of control completely.”

    “We express our solidarity with the Iraqi authorities, the Iraqi people who should restore peace and security in their country, but the actions of our Western partners raise a lot of questions,” Lavrov marked.



    Kurdish Iraqi Peshmerga forces deploy their troops and armoured vehicles on the outskirts of the multi-ethnic city of Kirkuk, only 1 kilometre away from areas controlled by Sunni Muslim Jihadists from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) in northern Iraq on June 12, 2014. (AFP Photo / Marwan Ibrahim)

    Lavrov noted that 11 years ago the US president announced the victory of democracy in Iraq, and that “the situation has deteriorated in geometrical progression.”

    “The unity of Iraq has been called into question. The rampant terrorism is taking place due to the fact that the occupation troops didn’t pay any attention to the interior political processes, didn’t help the national dialogue, and only pursued their own interests,” Lavrov said.

    On Monday night, the terrorists seized control of the town Mosul – the administrative center of the northern province of Nineveh. On Wednesday, the authorities informed the population about the fall of Tikrit, the hometown of former leader Saddam Hussein and just 150km from Baghdad.

    Sergey Lavrov has also touched on the developments in Ukraine. He said Moscow demands an immediate investigation into the reports of the use of banned weapons in Ukraine.


    A local resident stands in front of the blown out windows and walls of a residential building after it was hit by mortar shells during clashes in the eastern Ukrainian city of Slavyansk, on June 11, 2014. (AFP Photo / Daniel Mihailescu)

    “We emphasize concern over the reports about the use by the Ukrainian military of fire bombs and other indiscriminate weapons. Those reports must be urgently checked,” Lavrov stressed.

    He said the Russian Ambassador to the UN Vitaly Churkin “will be calling the OSCE mission which has observers in Ukraine, to establish facts [of using indiscriminate weapons], as well as will strive for the investigation into the tragedies in Odessa on May 2, in Mariupol on May 9, the ongoing actions in Kramatorsk and Slavyansk, and the snipers’ case on Maidan in February – all those probes should be brought to a close.”

    “We know that the European Council is ready to be involved in the probe which the Ukrainian authorities carry out. We are convinced that this should be done,” Lavrov stressed.

    Russia is also submitting to the UN the draft resolution on Ukraine calling to follow the roadmap the OSCE previously proposed.

    “We’ve asked our UN envoy to submit to the UN Security Council the project on the resolution on the Ukrainian situation because the lack of progress on the halt of the violence and military actions since the start of the punitive operation causes concern,” Lavrov said.

    At the moment there is no talk about bringing peacemakers to Ukraine, Lavrov said.

    “We don’t think that the situation has reached that point yet. There is still hope for a declaration by [Ukrainian President Petro] Poroshenko that the violence will be stopped and the negotiations will begin,” he added.

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    Default Re: Obama Surrenders Iraq

    The news is breaking hard and fast on this. I can't possibly keep up on it myself (and am working on other things anyway).
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    Default Re: Obama Surrenders Iraq

    Iraq will be lost in 2 days thanks to this inept fuckwad.
    "Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs even though checkered by failure, than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much because they live in the gray twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat."
    -- Theodore Roosevelt


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    Default Re: Obama Surrenders Iraq

    24 hours maybe at the rate things are moving.
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    Default Re: Obama Surrenders Iraq

    Moos take off Friday so expect to wake up Saturday morning and hearing about the fall of Baghdad.
    "Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs even though checkered by failure, than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much because they live in the gray twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat."
    -- Theodore Roosevelt


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    Default Re: Obama Surrenders Iraq

    Iraqis flee as militants close in; Obama says Iraq's government needs help

    By Faith Karimi and Laura Smith-Spark, CNN
    updated 8:09 AM EDT, Fri June 13, 2014

    Your video will begin momentarily.


    STORY HIGHLIGHTS

    • NEW: Representative of top Shiite cleric calls for Iraqis to take up arms against militants
    • Obama has not yet made a decision on any military options, source says
    • Airstrikes, but no ground troops, are among the options on the table, White House says
    • The militants' rapid advance from Mosul toward Baghdad has stunned the world




    Visit CNN Arabic and get updates on Iraq in Arabic.
    (CNN) -- Radical Islamists pushed forward in Iraq as an increasingly nervous United States sought ways to stop the militants from closing in on Baghdad.
    As Iraq further disintegrated, residents fled Mosul in droves. Militants captured the country's second-largest city this week after soldiers scattered, leaving their uniforms and weapons behind.
    Jittery families eager to leave sat in traffic jams stretching as far as the eye could see.
    Violence is spreading and security deteriorating in the nation, prompting U.S. President Barack Obama to say the beleaguered government required assistance.
    Terrorists gain ground in Iraq fighting
    More fighting ahead in Iraq?
    Turkey affected in the Iraq crisis
    Cities under siege in Iraq
    "It's going to need more help from us, and it's going to need more help from the international community," Obama said Thursday. "I don't rule out anything, because we do have a stake in making sure that these jihadists are not getting a permanent foothold in either Iraq or Syria."
    A senior Obama administration official said Friday that the president has not yet made a decision on whether to act on any military options. But another senior administration official indicated that a decision could come as early as this weekend.
    Airstrikes are among the options on the table, White House spokesman Jay Carney said Thursday. But there will be no repeat of a large U.S. troop presence on Iraqi soil.
    "We are not contemplating ground troops," Carney said. "I want to be clear about that."
    U.S. officials have also discussed bolstering ongoing efforts to send arms, equipment and intelligence information to help Iraq and its military.
    The militants from the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, or ISIS, want to establish an Islamic caliphate, or state, in the region.
    ISIS has had significant success in Syria, where it is battling President Bashar al-Assad's government.
    ISIS fighters amid civilian population
    According to several U.S. officials, the U.S. military has not finalized a proposed set of ISIS targets in Iraq for Obama, amid significant military concerns that strikes may prove futile against ISIS fighters who are dispersed and mingled with a civilian population.
    Several more top-level meetings are scheduled in the next 48 hours, as Obama mulls his course of action.
    "Our planning is looking at the full range of options," a senior U.S. official told CNN. Those options range from increasing U.S. surveillance flights over ISIS areas to potential airstrikes, the official acknowledged.
    But conducting airstrikes by either manned aircraft or drones presents several problems now being discussed inside the administration, the official said.
    The official said that while the U.S. military and intelligence community had been watching events in Iraq closely, there is some surprise in the last few days about how fast ISIS has moved, and the scope of the lack of response from Iraqi forces.
    Iraq has indicated a willingness for the U.S. military to conduct airstrikes against the militants.
    Photos: Iraqi civilians flee Mosul


    Militant group seizes cities in Iraq
    What's next for Iraq?
    Washington has already provided $15 billion in training, weapons and equipment to the Iraqi government.
    The militants' march in Iraq has caught the world's attention, especially the United States, which led the 2003 invasion that toppled longtime leader Saddam Hussein.
    Since then, instability and violence have plagued Iraq; though, until now, its woes had not included a fast-moving takeover of key cities.
    Peshmerga gains
    On Friday, fighting for control of towns in Iraq continued.
    While the Iraqi army has done little to resist the advance of the ISIS militants, Kurdish fighters deployed by the semiautonomous Kurdish regional government, in coordination with Baghdad, are having more impact.
    The Kurdish fighters, known as the Peshmerga, are battling ISIS in Iraq's eastern Diyala province, said Mohammed Moullah Hassan, mayor of Khanaqin, a predominantly Kurdish area of Diyala.
    He told CNN that 95% of Jalawla'a was now under the control of the Peshmerga, who are clashing with ISIS to regain the remaining areas.
    Meanwhile, the town of Sadiya is encircled on one side by the Peshmerga and on the other by ISIS, with Iraqi security forces still in the town. The Peshmerga fighters are ready to enter if the security forces abandon their positions when ISIS advances, the mayor said.
    On Thursday, authorities said that Kurdish troops had beaten back militants to control the entire province of Kirkuk.
    Prime Minister Nuri al-Malaki has called on Iraqi citizens to join the fight against the militants.
    That call was echoed Friday by a representative of Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani, the most powerful Shiite cleric in Iraq.
    During his Friday sermon in Najaf, Sheikh Abdul Mahdi Al-Karbalai urged Iraqis to volunteer and fight for security forces. "The responsibility to confront and fight the terrorists is everyone's responsibility," he said.
    Iraq claims victory in Tikrit
    After days of stunning defeats, Iraq claimed a key victory Thursday.
    Tikrit, Hussein's hometown, was under full control of the military Thursday, state-run Iraqiya TV said.
    Just a day earlier, it appeared to be in the hands of militants.
    Militants take control of Iraqi city
    Iraq violence leaves more than 100 dead
    The Iraqi military also carried out airstrikes overnight targeting the al-Ghazlany military base, just 5 kilometers (3 miles) south of Mosul, where a group of ISIS militants was believed to be based, the Iraqi Defense Ministry said Thursday.
    Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari said even though the military fled in Mosul this week, the government has since "taken a number of steps to push back the terrorists."
    He said there were indications the militants were pulling out of Mosul, adding that the government was working with Kurdish regional powers to push them out.
    Footage surfaced on social media sites Thursday purportedly showing ISIS militants parading heavy artillery through Mosul, a predominantly Sunni city of 1.6 million that collapsed swiftly Tuesday in the face of the assault by heavily armed radicals.
    More than 500,000 people have fled the fighting in Mosul, the International Organization for Migration said Wednesday. The U.N. refugee agency said many left with little more than the clothes on their backs and were in urgent need of shelter, water, food and medical care.
    Map: Unrest in Iraq



    Rights group Human Rights Watch has highlighted fears that the ISIS militants will commit abuses against civilians in territory they control.
    Rupert Colville, spokesman for the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, said Friday that the agency had received reports of the summary executions of Iraqi army soldiers during the capture of Mosul.
    This includes the execution of 17 people on a street in Mosul on Wednesday, he said.
    Radicals in Mosul
    State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said American citizens working on contracts supporting U.S. military sales to Iraq are being temporarily relocated.
    Among those leaving for safety are U.S. contractors at a military base in Balad, about 90 kilometers (55 miles) north of Baghdad.
    "We are fully aware of the unfolding situation in Iraq and are working closely with the U.S. government to ensure the safety and protection of all of our employees," said Mike Rein, a spokesman for defense and security firm Lockheed Martin.
    The security concerns were exacerbated by the seizure of 48 people, including diplomats, in a Wednesday raid on the Turkish Consulate.
    Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said Thursday that the health of those captured is "fine." He said the government was working to secure their release.
    Militants also seized parts of Baiji, a small town where Iraq's largest oil refinery is located.
    For the government to reinforce its troops in Mosul, it needs to drive them through Baiji. If the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria controls the town, the government's task will be much harder.
    Earlier this year, ISIS took control of the city of Falluja and parts of Ramadi. Across the border in Syria, it controls towns such as Raqqa.
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    Default Re: Obama Surrenders Iraq

    Gas going up.


    Oil prices jump above $107 on Iraq tensions



    320 CONNECT 38 TWEET 4 LINKEDIN 57 COMMENTEMAILMORE

    Escalating tensions in Iraq spilled over to energy markets for a second day Friday, pushing crude oil prices to ten-month highs and setting the stage for stubbornly high gasoline prices in the U.S. to rise even further.
    After jumping over $2 on Thursday, the benchmark U.S. oil contract for July delivery was up another 49 cents to $107.04 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It had earlier hit a high of $107.68.
    Brent crude, a benchmark for international oils, was up 54 cents to $112.96 a barrel on the ICE Futures exchange in London.
    The jumps are likely to drive the price of regular unleaded gasoline — now about $3.64 a gallon — up 5 to 10 cents in the coming days and keep summer prices elevated, says Tom Kloza, senior energy analyst at gasbuddy.com.
    "We're not looking at a Gas-zilla event; it'll probably be a slow drift higher rather than skyrocketing,'' he says.
    Iraqi oil production has already been cut by about 10%, or about 300,000 barrels a day, since March.
    "The question is, who is going to fill the gap? Saudi Arabia? That's what the market is looking at,'' says John Kingston, global news director for industry tracker Platts Energy.
    Gasoline averaged $3.58 a gallon between Memorial Day and Labor Day last year. But retail prices have averaged about $3.65 for the past month — unlike 2011, 2012 and 2013, when prices plateaued weeks ahead of peak summer driving season. This year, higher demand, lower-than-expected supplies and declining production propped up crude oil prices before militants escalated their attacks.
    Oil's price rise grounded airline and other fuel-dependent transportation stocks Thursday. Among them: United Continental Holdings, down 6% to $42.60; American Airlines, down 5% to $40.20; Delta, down 5% to $38.50; and JetBlue, down 5% to $9.94. Federal Express eased 2.5% to $139.21.
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    Default Re: Obama Surrenders Iraq

    U.S. weighs Iraq airstrikes, Obama says he won't send combat troops

    By Barbara Starr and Tom Cohen, CNN
    updated 12:19 PM EDT, Fri June 13, 2014


    Obama: Up to Iraq to solve its problems


    STORY HIGHLIGHTS

    • NEW: President Obama makes statement on Iraq
    • NEW: U.S. aircraft carrier heading to the Persian Gulf, source says
    • U.S. airstrikes could prove ineffective, planners say
    • ISIS lacks bona fide targets, could disperse fighters among civilians




    [Adds breaking news update 12:11 p.m.]
    President Barack Obama said Friday that the United States "will not be sending U.S. troops back into combat in Iraq," but that he would be reviewing a range of other options to support the Iraqi government against a sweeping advance by militant fighters. Obama said unless Iraq fixes its internal political problems, short-term military help from the United States won't make much difference.
    Obama added that any decision on U.S. military support for Iraq "is going to take several days," adding that "this is not going to happen overnight."
    Obama also said the United States is not going to get involved militarily again in Iraq without assurances that the government there is working toward a political solution.
    [Original story moved at 11:49 a.m.]
    Momentum toward U.S. military support for Iraq's struggling government increased Friday, with Secretary of State John Kerry signaling a decision soon on how to help.
    The White House later announced that President Barack Obama would make a statement on Iraq before departing on a trip to North Dakota.
    "Given the gravity of the situation I would anticipate timely decisions from the President regarding the challenge," Kerry told a London conference when asked about this week's lightning advance by the militant Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, or ISIS, toward Baghdad.
    He mentioned some initial moves, but stopped short of spelling out further steps that could include air strikes intended to slow the progress of militants and help the Iraqi military regain its equilibrium.
    How can Obama counter ISIS threat?
    Iraq desperate for options against ISIS
    ISIS dividing Iraq along ethnic lines
    Obama: Not 'ruling out anything' on Iraq
    Photos: Iraqi civilians flee Mosul


    "We have already taken some immediate steps, including providing enhanced aerial surveillance support to assist the Iraqis in this fight," Kerry said. "We have also ramped up shipments of military aid to Iraq since the beginning of the year."
    Meanwhile, the United States plans to move the aircraft carrier George H.W. Bush into the Persian Gulf in coming hours to provide Obama with options for possible airstrikes, a U.S. official told CNN on Friday, adding the move did not mean a final decision had been made.
    No U.S. ground troops for now
    While Obama said Thursday that his national security team was looking at "all options," White House spokesman Jay Carney told reporters that ground troops weren't being contemplated for now.
    ISIS fighters have seized Iraq's second-largest city, Mosul, as part of an advance toward Baghdad that gave them control of large parts of the country's northern area.
    Calls for American air strikes have increased in Washington, but U.S. military planners trying to find a way to help Iraq fend off the militant fighters are worried that such attacks could prove futile, several officials told CNN.
    Among other complications, U.S. officials don't have good intelligence about where militants are. Even if they did, the militants don't have the type of targets -- command and control centers, air defense sites, military bases -- that lend themselves to aerial attacks, the officials said on condition of not being identified.
    Republican Sen. John McCain of Arizona, a war veteran and critic of Obama administration policy in Iraq, told CNN on Friday that air strikes "are certainly something that should be considered, but I would point out that air strikes are not easy."
    Air strikes "not easy"
    "You just don't say, 'hey, let's go hit something,'" said McCain, who lost to Obama in the 2008 presidential election. "It requires coordination, it requires intelligence; it requires a whole lot of things."
    He repeated his call for Obama to bring back retired Gen. David Petraeus and other leaders from the Iraq war to develop a strategy.
    Map: Unrest in Iraq



    McCain has called for Obama to fire his national security team, saying the decision to withdraw all U.S. troops from Iraq created a predictable vacuum that led to the current crisis.
    To McCain, a residual force of U.S. troops should have remained in Iraq to provide stability, "the same kind of residual force that we have now in Bosnia, that we have in Germany, we have in Japan."
    "That doesn't mean we're in combat. It means we are there as a stabilizing force," he said adding that the ISIS advance represents "an existential threat" to America. He linked the Iraq situation to the Obama administration's reluctance to strongly support opposition forces in Syria's civil war, a policy he called "one of the causative factors" for the Iraq crisis.
    Kerry, however, cited differences in U.S. relations and obligations with Iraq compared to Syria. The Iraq war that began with the 2003 invasion to oust Saddam Hussein eventually led to elections that brought Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki to power, followed by the 2011 departure of U.S. forces.
    U.S. deeply involved in Iraq
    ISIS attacks cause mass exodus in Iraq
    ISIS attacks cause mass exodus in Iraq
    'This was a well-planned attack'
    Who are the militants battling for Iraq?
    "In Iraq there is a government that we have been deeply involved in, that we support, that we have a military relationship with, that we have an ongoing memorandum of understanding regarding the military relationship which has invited us, asked us for help," he said.
    One U.S. official told CNN that short of sending ground troops, options under consideration included increasing U.S. surveillance flights over ISIS areas and potential airstrikes.
    According to the officials who spoke to CNN, targeting problems include:
    • The U.S. lacks credible, specific intelligence about where ISIS fighters are;
    • Using drones to strike fighters moving on vehicles still requires very specific intelligence to assure who is being struck. Moreover, they say, drone strikes can kill individuals, but they don't change the military calculation or balance of power on the ground;
    • There's no one on the ground, such as Air Force tactical air controllers, to call in precise airstrikes;
    • ISIS doesn't have fixed positions such as command and control centers, air defense sites, military bases and radar facilities that could be hit to degrade the group's military capability; and,
    • Fighters may be spread out inside population centers, which means airstrikes could risk civilian casualties and property destruction at the hands of the U.S. military.
    Lethal militaryaid for Iraq
    A Defense Department official says that about $15 billion in equipment, training and other services already have gone to Iraq.
    Carney reeled off some of the many items involved: millions of rounds of small arms fire, thousands of rounds of tank ammunition, hundreds of Hellfire missiles, grenades, assault rifles, helicopters and much more.
    That tally doesn't include an additional $1 billion in arms -- including up to 200 Humvees -- that are now in a 30-day review period in Congress.
    "Iraq is going to need more help from us, and it's going to need more help from the international community," Obama said Thursday.
    James Jeffrey, the U.S. Ambassador to Iraq from 2010 to 2012 who is now a fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, characterized Iraq's military as "ill-trained, badly led and not particularly competent."
    "They clearly cannot fire and maneuver," said Jeffrey, a U.S. Army veteran.
    In addition, militants have been able to pick up weaponry, vehicles and other goods on its sweep of Iraq -- some of it supplied by the United States.
    Both Kerry and McCain said a key to progress in Iraq was for Maliki, a Shiite, to be more inclusive, with Kerry citing a "persistent divisiveness and gridlock with respect to some of the unresolved political issues."
    McCain was more blunt, saying Maliki "has got to reconcile, and if he can't do that, then I think he should be replaced by somebody that can."
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    Default Re: Obama Surrenders Iraq

    Obama Says He Will Decide on Military Support for Iraq in ‘Days Ahead’

    By PETER BAKER


    Photo

    President Barack Obama spoke outside the White House. Credit Stephen Crowley/The New York Times


    This article and others like it are part of our new subscription.





    WASHINGTON — President Obama said Friday that he would make a decision “in the days ahead” about whether to use American military power to help the besieged Iraqi government stave off collapse at the hands of Islamist insurgents, but he ruled out using ground forces.


    “This poses a danger to Iraq and its people and, given the nature of these terrorists, it could pose a threat eventually to American interests as well,” Mr. Obama said of the offensive now threatening Baghdad. “We will not be sending U.S. troops back into combat in Iraq, but I have asked my national security team to prepare a range of other options.”


    The president cautioned against expecting quick action, saying the planning would take “several days” to make sure any airstrikes were effective.
    “People should not anticipate this is something that is going to happen overnight,” he said. “We want to make sure that we have good eyes on the situation there. We want to make sure we’ve gathered all the intelligence that is necessary so that if I do order action” it will be precise and direct.
    Continue reading the main story Video Play Video|1:24

    John Kerry on Obama’s Iraq Thinking


    John Kerry on Obama’s Iraq Thinking

    At the Global Summit to End Sexual Violence in Conflict, Secretary of State John Kerry spoke about the “timely decisions” on the violence in Iraq that he expects from President Obama.
    Credit Facundo Arrizabalaga/European Pressphoto Agency

    Mr. Obama, in a televised statement before he boarded Marine One to begin a trip to North Dakota and California, emphasized that the problem was not just a short-term threat to the Iraqi government but also a long-term failure by Baghdad leaders to achieve political reconciliation across sectarian lines. He warned Iraqi leaders that if they want American help, they have to come up with a plan to accommodate minority factions in a meaningful way.


    “The United States 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,” he said. “We’re not going to allow ourselves to be dragged back into a situation where when in which while we’re there we’re keeping a lid on things” while the political leaders fail to address the underlying fissures dividing Iraqi society.


    Mr. Obama said he would “consult with Congress” about possible airstrikes in Iraq, but he did not say whether he would seek a vote by lawmakers as he did last fall when he was contemplating airstrikes against Syria in retaliation for the Assad government’s use of chemical weapons against its own citizens.


    In this case, the original congressional authorization for the invasion of Iraq in 2003 has never expired, so he would have a different legal basis than he had with Syria.
    Although he did not mention it, CNN reported that the Pentagon was moving an aircraft carrier, the U.S.S. George H. W. Bush, to the area. Secretary of State John Kerry, speaking in London earlier in the day, said that “given the gravity of the situation, I would anticipate timely decisions from the president regarding the challenge.”


    While Mr. Obama ruled out reinserting ground troops, even airstrikes would represent a significant turnaround for a president who was elected in part because of his early opposition to the Iraq war and who, once he took office, made pulling out American troops his top foreign policy priority.

    The president spoke moments before leaving the White House for a scheduled four-day trip to North Dakota and California. He and the first lady, Michelle Obama, were to visit the Standing Rock Sioux Tribal Nation in Cannon Ball, N.D., on Friday afternoon before heading to Palm Springs, Calif., where they were planning a relaxed weekend. Aides would not say whether the schedule might change.
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    Default Re: Obama Surrenders Iraq

    Days ahead = too late.

    Act now or simply declare the issue dead.
    "Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs even though checkered by failure, than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much because they live in the gray twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat."
    -- Theodore Roosevelt


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    Default Re: Obama Surrenders Iraq

    As usual, he's leaving himself an escape route... Weasel Words and fudging.
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    Default Re: Obama Surrenders Iraq

    Is this going to be the next Benghazi?

    200 U.S. contractors surrounded by jihadists in Iraq

    No help from military as escape routes cut off

    NEW YORK About 200 Americans under contract with the Department of Defense at Balad Air Force Base in Iraq are trapped by the al-Qaida-inspired jihadists who have seized control of two cities and are now threatening Baghdad, according to WND sources.


    The sources, private contractors who have recently returned to the U.S. from Iraq, said Friday their former colleagues effectively have been abandoned by the U.S. military and are fighting for their lives against an army of jihadists surrounding the base who belong to the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, or ISIS.


    The U.S. contractors are at Balad to help the Pentagon prepare the facilities for the delivery of the F-16 aircraft the Obama administration has agreed to provide the Iraqi government.

    The surrounded Americans said they currently are under ISIS fire from small arms, AK47s, and rocket propelled grenades, or RPGs.

    The contractors so far have been able to hold the base, but those on the scene reported it was only a matter of time before the ISIS terrorists succeed in breaking through the perimeter.

    WND has learned from sources that the jihadists have closed down escape routes, and the U.S. Air Force is in a stand-down position. U.S. forces are not assisting even with air cover so a private extradition flight could land for a rescue, the sources said.
    Privately scheduled exit flights have fallen through, sources said, as several private pilots originally scheduled to make the flights have quit.

    The sources contend the U.S. military could provide the necessary air cover to protect C-130s or other air transport craft sufficient to make the evacuation, but so far officials have refused to get involved.

    Balad Air Force Base has been under attack since Wednesday, when ISIS rebels seized the nearby town of Tikrit, the birthplace of Saddam Hussein.

    The attacking ISIS forces approached Balad Air Force Base in trucks and called through loudspeakers for all private security forces and Iraqi special military to leave immediately or die.

    The U.S. private contractors in touch with WND reported that after hearing the broadcast, the private security forces and the Iraqi military defending the base dropped their weapons and ran.

    The American contractors collected the weapons left behind and were able to hold off further immediate advances.

    More to come

    http://www.wnd.com/2014/06/200-u-s-c...dists-in-iraq/

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    Default Re: Obama Surrenders Iraq

    Sickening. Does anyone have any doubts as to what Ronald Reagan would have done? This terrorist group would be a smoldering line of vehicles.
    "Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs even though checkered by failure, than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much because they live in the gray twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat."
    -- Theodore Roosevelt


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    Default Re: Obama Surrenders Iraq

    Holy.....


    Wow.
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    Default Re: Obama Surrenders Iraq

    I can understand the point of the contractors grabbing guns to defend themselves. They aren't in Kansas anymore.
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    Default Re: Obama Surrenders Iraq

    If this Contractor story is true, and those people have taken up arms against the terrorists, and Obama lets them die....

    then God HELP America.
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    Default Re: Obama Surrenders Iraq

    Iraqi Shiite Cleric Issues Call to Arms Against Sunni Militants

    By ALISSA J. RUBIN, SUADAD AL-SALHY and ALAN COWELL


    Photo

    Iraqi police officers dug trenches at a checkpoint in the town of Taji, outside Baghdad, on Friday, as security forces bolstered defenses in the capital. Credit Ahmad Al-Rubaye/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images





    BAGHDAD — Iraq’s top Shiite cleric exhorted all able-bodied Iraqis to take up arms Friday to combat the marauding Sunni extremist militants who have seized broad stretches of the country this week and are threatening the wobbly Shiite-led central government in Baghdad. President Obama said it was up to the Iraqis themselves to contain the crisis.


    The call to arms by the cleric, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, was the most urgent sign yet of the growing desperation of the country’s Shiite majority in the face of a resurgent Sunni militant movement drawn from the insurgency in neighboring Syria and vestiges of the Saddam Hussein loyalists toppled from power by the American-led invasion a decade ago.
    Photo

    Shiite volunteers during a tribal meeting in northern Baghdad. Credit Ayman Oghanna for The New York Times
    At the same time, the ayatollah’s plea also risked plunging Iraq further into the pattern of sectarian bloodletting between Sunnis and Shiites that convulsed the country during the height of the American occupation.


    For the United States, the chaos now engulfing Iraq risks re-entangling the American military in a conflict that the Obama administration spent its first term winding down. President Obama, in a televised statement on Friday, said it was clear that Mr. Maliki’s government needed more help and that the United States was weighing a range of options. But Mr. Obama said that he would not be sending troops back and that American military aid alone was not a solution.


    “The United States 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,” he said. “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” while the political leaders fail to address the underlying fissures dividing Iraqi society.


    For Iran’s Shiite leaders, the Iraq crisis represents a direct Sunni militant threat on their doorstep. The commander of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Quds Force, Gen. Qassem Suleimani, arrived in Baghdad on Thursday and has been reviewing how Iraq’s Shiite militias are prepared to defend Baghdad and other areas, according to a report on Iranwire, a website run by expatriate Iranian journalists.


    “The mobilization of the Shia militias, and Qassem Suleimani’s presence, is a very good indication of how seriously they’re taking this,” Hayder al-Khoei, an associate fellow at the London-based Chatham House research group, said in an interview with Iranwire from Baghdad.


    Even with their shared interests in a stable Iraq, there was no overt sign of cooperation or communication between Washington and Tehran on the crisis. Marie Harf, a State Department spokeswoman, told reporters on Friday that “we are not talking to the Iranians about Iraq.”
    Photo

    A poster of Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani in Baghdad. He said Friday it was “the legal and national responsibility of whoever can hold a weapon to hold it to defend the country, the citizens and the holy sites.” Credit Khalid Mohammed/Associated Press
    Continue reading the main story
    Thousands of Iraqi Shiites responded to the call by Ayatollah Sistani, 83, whose statements carry enormous weight among not just the Shiite majority but members of other groups including some Sunnis. The statement, read by his representative during Friday prayers, said it was “the legal and national responsibility of whoever can hold a weapon to hold it to defend the country, the citizens and the holy sites.”
    The representative of Ayatollah Sistani, Sheikh Abdul Mehdi al-Karbalaie, spoke in Karbala, regarded by Shiites as one of Iraq’s holiest cities. The sheikh said volunteers “must fill the gaps within the security forces,” but cautioned that they should not do any more than that.
    The statement stopped short of calling for a general armed response to the incursion led by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, a Sunni extremist group that has emerged as one of the most potent opposition forces in the Syrian civil war and that now controls large areas of both Syria and northern Iraq.
    The sheikh emphasized that all Iraqis should join the fight, pulling together, so the country does not slide into all-out sectarian warfare. But in a time of mounting frictions and deepening distrust between the sects, it appeared unlikely that many Sunnis would answer the ayatollah’s call. Many Sunnis feel little sympathy either for the government or for the extremists of ISIS.
    Volunteers began to appear at the southern gate to Baghdad, which leads to the predominantly Shiite south of the country, within an hour after Mr. Karbalaie broadcast Ayatollah Sistani’s call.
    At the police post there, by the soaring arches that mark the city limits, a pickup truck driven by elders pulled up with six young men in the back.
    Photo

    Volunteers run toward military trucks as they leave a recruiting center in Baghdad on Friday. Credit Ali Al-Saadi/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images
    “We heard Ali Sistani’s call for jihad, so we’re coming here to fight the terrorism everywhere, not just in Iraq,” said Ali Mohsin Alwan al-Amiri, one of the elders.
    The Sunni insurgents continued their offensive on Friday, fanning out to the east of the Tigris River, and at least temporarily seized two towns near the Iranian border, Sadiyah and Jalawla. Security officials in Baghdad said government troops, backed by Kurdish forces, counterattacked several hours later and forced the insurgents to withdraw, a rare success.
    The Kurds control a semiautonomous region in northern Iraq and have long sought independence. As the militants advanced on Thursday, their forces took full control of Kirkuk, an oil center that had been contested by the Kurds and the country’s Arab leaders for years, after the Iraqi Army abandoned its posts there.
    The apparent disintegration of some units of the American-armed Iraqi Army and the loss of control of Kirkuk and the Sunni areas overrun by the militants represented the worst security crisis in Iraq since the American withdrawal in 2011, threatening the country’s future as a cohesive state.
    Both the United States and Iran have watched events with alarm and have issued warnings of possible intervention.
    In its language and tone, Ayatollah Sistani’s statement portrayed it as a religious and patriotic act to volunteer either for the Iraqi Army or for a Shiite militia, two forces that are becoming difficult to distinguish.
    Continue reading the main story
    Graphic

    The Iraq-ISIS Conflict in Maps, Photos and Video

    A visual guide to the crisis in northern Iraq.

    OPEN Graphic

    Continue reading the main story Continue reading the main story
    Continue reading the main story
    When the ayatollah’s representative, Mr. Karbalaie, said, “Whoever can hold a weapon has to volunteer to join the security forces,” the call was greeted with cheers and shouts of “It will be done!”
    People in Ayatollah Sistani’s office said the statement was a response to one issued by the leadership of ISIS threatening to seize not just the predominantly Sunni areas of northern Iraq, but also Baghdad and the cities of Karbala and Najaf, which are sacred to Shiite Muslims.
    “Iraq and the Iraqi people are facing great danger,” Mr. Karbalaie said. “The terrorists are not aiming to control just several provinces. They said clearly they are targeting all other provinces including Baghdad, Karbala and Najaf. So the responsibility to face them and fight them is the responsibility of all, not one sect or one party. The responsibility now is saving Iraq, saving our country, saving the holy places of Iraq.”
    Since the insurgents captured Mosul, Iraq’s second-largest city, senior officers in the army have been meeting with local committees and Shiite militias in Baghdad and asking them to round up volunteers to bolster the government forces. Maj. Gen. Abdul Jabbar, commander of the 11th Division, went to a stadium in the Hussainiya neighborhood to speak to a gathering of local sheikhs, and called on each of them to produce 50 volunteers.
    On the main axis of the insurgent advance, the highway running south from Mosul to the capital, there were no indications on Friday that the militants had succeeded in taking Samarra, 70 miles north of Baghdad, which is home to a Shiite shrine and is defended by Shiite militias. “We hope that all the Shiite groups will come together and move as one man to protect Baghdad and the other Shiite areas,” said Abu Mujahid, one of the militia leaders.
    Iran’s state-run news media reported this week that Tehran had strengthened its forces along the Iraq border and suspended all pilgrim visas into Iraq, but had received no request from Iraq for military help. Reports that Iranian Revolutionary Guards troops had crossed the border into Iraq to assist the government forces could not be confirmed; Shiite militia leaders in the capital said they knew of no such move and had not asked Iran to send troops.
    The insurgents have pledged to march on Baghdad, but seizing and controlling the sprawling Iraqi capital, with its large population of Shiites, is likely to prove much more difficult than advancing across a Sunni heartland with little sympathy for the central government.
    For its part, the administration of Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki has seemed bewildered by the crisis. It was unable to muster a quorum in Parliament this week to approve a state of emergency.
    On Friday, however, an spokesman for the Interior Ministry, Brig. Gen. Saad Maan, was quoted by Agence France-Presse as saying, “We put in place a new plan to protect Baghdad.”
    Alissa J. Rubin and Suadad al-Salhy reported from Baghdad, and Alan Cowell from London. Rod Nordland contributed reporting from Baghdad and Rick Gladstone in New York.
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    Default Re: Obama Surrenders Iraq

    Obama Rules Out Sending American Troops 'Back into Combat' in Iraq

    June 13, 2014
    By MATTHEW LAROTONDA Matthew Larotonda More from Matthew サ

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    President Obama Rules Out Combat Forces in Iraq
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    President Obama today ruled out sending U.S. troops "back into combat" in Iraq despite the threat from a surging army of Islamic militants.
    But as several cities in the once American-occupied nation fall under the flags of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, or ISIS, Obama told reporters his National Security Council was still considering options.
    “I'll be reviewing those options in the days ahead,” Obama said on the White House’s south lawn. “I do want to be clear, though. This is not solely, or even primarily, a military challenge."
    The president seemed to suggest that the Iraqis had squandered the "extraordinary sacrifices" made by Americans to stabilize the country.
    “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,” he said.
    Obama said, however, that besides the danger ISIS poses to Iraq "given the nature of these terrorists, it could pose a threat eventually to American interests as well."
    Wave of Iraqi Executions Feared in ISIS Takeover
    This Is The Militant Islamic Group Taking Over Iraq
    The president said he has asked his National Security Council for a "range of options," but he said, "We will not be sending us troops back into combat in Iraq."
    "Any action that we may take to provide assistance to Iraqi security forces has to be joined by a serious and sincere effort by Iraq's leaders to set aside sectarian differences," Obama said.
    Obama added, "Ultimately it's up to Iraqis to solve their problems."
    He added, "The U.S. simply is not going to get involved in a military action without assurances" that the Iraqi government will take actions to unify the country and reduce sectarian tensions.
    Obama also chided Maliki's government for refusing to cooperate with the U.S. earlier.
    “In Iraq, the Iraqi government, which was initially resistant to some of our offers of help, has come around now to recognize that cooperation with us on some of these issues can be useful,” he said.
    The Obama administration has been alarmed by capturing the city of Fallujah, Iraq, earlier this year and then seeing ISIS sweep north this week to chase the Iraqi army out of Mosul, Tikrit, Baji and surrounding towns.
    The militants vow to march on Baghdad and so far the Iraqi army has shown little willingness to confront them. The government of President Nouri al-Maliki has appealed for help, including a request for U.S. air power to pummel the insurgents.
    ISIS controls a huge swath of territory that is bigger than many countries and extends from the edge of Aleppo in western Syria across the Iraqi border to Falluja in the south and Mosul in the north. The group is known for its radical Islam, a form so violent that it has been disowned by al Qaeda.
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    Default Re: Obama Surrenders Iraq

    Obama: “We Will Not Be Sending US Troops Back to Iraq”

    Daniel Doherty | Jun 13, 2014












    Before hoping on Air Force One to visit Standing Rock Reservation in North Dakota, the president gave a short press conference about the ongoing crisis in Iraq. He made it abundantly clear that U.S. forces would not be redeployed to the war-torn nation. At the same time, he said, he has instructed his national security team to come up with a list of “options” to help mitigate the bloodshed and instability in the region.
    “We’ve seen significant gains by ISIS [in Iraq],” he noted, the vicious terrorist organization responsible for butchering soldiers and civilians and overrunning major Iraqi cities. “This poses a danger to Iraq and its people, and given the nature of these terrorists, it could pose a threat to the United States as well."
    Nevertheless, he averred, “we will not be sending U.S. troops back to Iraq.”
    “Any action that we may take…has to be joined by a serious effort to promote” a long-term political plan to stabilize the country, he continued. “We can't do it for them. And in the absence of this sort of political effort, short-term military action won't succeed."
    “Iraq’s leaders have to demonstrate a willingness to make hard decisions and compromises on behalf of the Iraqi people,” he continued. “The United States will do our part–but understand it’s ultimately up to the Iraqis to solve their problems.”
    He added that his national security team will be monitoring the situation in Iraq over the coming days. That being said, it wasn't immediately clear if military strikes are still on the table.
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