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Helping Iraq Counter ISIL's Terrorist Threat


Volunteers, who have joined the Iraqi Army to fight against predominantly Sunni militants from the radical Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), carry weapons during a parade in the streets in Al-Fdhiliya district, eastern Baghdad June 15, 2014.

The United States is prepared to send up to 300 additional U.S. military advisers to Iraq.

To help counter the brutal advance in Iraq of the terrorist organization known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, or ISIL, President Barack Obama announced that the United States is prepared to send up to 300 additional U.S. military advisers to Iraq to assess how best to train, advise, and support Iraqi security forces.

“American forces will not be returning to combat in Iraq, but we will help Iraqis as they take the fight to terrorists who threaten the Iraqi people, the region and American interests as well,” said President Obama.

In addition to sending military advisers, the United States has significantly increased its intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance assets to get a better picture of what is taking place in Iraq and have a greater understanding of what ISIL is doing, where it’s located, and how we might support efforts to counter this threat. The United States has also positioned additional military assets in the region. “Going forward,” Mr. Obama said, “we will be prepared to take targeted and precise military action if and when we determine that the situation on the ground requires it.”

President Obama stressed that above all, “Iraqi leaders must rise above their differences and come together around a political plan for Iraq’s future:”

“Shia, Sunni, Kurds -- all Iraqis must have confidence that they can advance their interests and aspirations through the political process rather than through violence. National unity meetings have to go forward to build consensus across Iraq’s different communities. Now that the results of Iraq’s recent elections has been certified, a new parliament should convene as soon as possible.”

“It’s not the place for the United States to choose Iraq’s leaders,” Mr. Obama said. “It is clear though that only leaders that can govern with an inclusive agenda are going to be able to truly bring the Iraqi people together and help them through this crisis.”

President Obama said that the United States will lead a diplomatic effort to work with Iraq’s leaders and the countries in the region to support stability in Iraq. Secretary of State John Kerry will head to the Middle East and Europe for consultations with U.S. allies and partners.

“Just as all Iraq’s neighbors must respect Iraq’s territorial integrity,” said President Obama, “all of Iraq’s neighbors have a vital interest in ensuring that Iraq does not descend into civil war or become a safe haven for terrorists.”
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