Saturday, August 09, 2014

While Offering Support, Obama Warns That U.S. Won’t Be ‘Iraqi Air Force’

By MICHAEL D. SHEAR and JULIE HIRSCHFELD DAVIS, NYT, AUG. 8, 2014

WASHINGTON — President Obama said Friday that he was open to supporting a sustained effort to drive Sunni militants out of Iraq if Iraqi leaders form a more inclusive government, even as he vowed that the United States had no intention of “being the Iraqi air force.”

Mr. Obama spoke as he ordered American fighter pilots back into the skies over Iraq, a decision that he said he reached after concluding that the United States needed to protect the Kurdish regions in the north and “bolster” an Iraqi leadership that was panicked in the face of advances by the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.

The president said he was confident that the Iraqi leaders understand that “the cavalry is not coming to the rescue” with ground forces. But he insisted that the United States has a “strategic interest in pushing back” ISIS, suggesting a potentially broader mission than the one he described in Thursday’s White House address: to protect American personnel and prevent mass killings of religious minorities.

(More here.)

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