Obama sending military advisers to Iraq
Holding back from more robust options, President Barack Obama on Thursday said he was dispatching up to 300 military advisers to Iraq to help quell the rising insurgency in the crumbling state. He called on Iraqi leaders to govern with a more “inclusive agenda” to ensure the country does not descend into civil war.
Obama left open the option of “targeted” military action in the future, and he said the U.S. also would increase its intelligence efforts in Iraq and was prepared to create joint operations centers with Iraqis. But he was adamant that U.S. troops would not be returning to combat in Iraq.
“We do not have the ability to simply solve this problem by sending in tens of thousands of troops and committing the kinds of blood and treasure that has already been expended in Iraq,” Obama told reporters in the White House briefing room. “Ultimately, this is something that is going to have to be solved by Iraqis.” AP
France discusses military options for Iraq, Syria
France’s president held an emergency meeting June 19 to discuss possible military options for Iraq and Syria, after recent advances by Islamic extremist fighters that have destabilized the region.
President Francois Hollande said in a statement afterward that France is “reinforcing cooperation with its international and European partners to bring a coordinated and effective response to the terrorist threat.”
The statement didn’t elaborate on what that response might be. A French diplomatic official said earlier June 19 that France has not been asked for military help in Iraq at this stage but was considering its options, which was attended by several ministers, the chief of defense and the head of the French secret service.
France famously opposed the U.S.-led intervention in Iraq a decade ago, but has pushed for international action in Syria, a former French protectorate. France’s government argues that the international community’s failure to act more decisively in Syria led to the latest unrest in Iraq. AP
NATO: Russians resume buildup near Ukraine
Russia has resumed a military buildup near Ukraine, NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said June 19, calling it “a very regrettable step backward.”
“I can confirm that we now see a new Russian military buildup – at least a few thousand more Russian troops deployed to the Ukrainian border, and we see troop maneuvers in the neighborhood of Ukraine,” Rassmussen said in London.
“If they’re deployed to seal the border and stop the flow of weapons and fighters that would be a positive step. But that’s not what we’re seeing.”
Instead, the NATO chief said, Russia appears bent on using its military to intimidate Ukraine further.
NATO estimated at one point there were up to 40,000 Russian forces deployed near the border with Ukraine, but reported last month that many of the soldiers and their equipment had been pulled back. AP