partlycloudy
Friday May 27th, 2016 6:20PM

Obama: US will send fresh help to beleaguered Iraq

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor
WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Barack Obama promised Thursday to send more military aid to Iraq to help beat back a fast-moving insurgency as the U.S. evacuated a major air base in the nation's north where it had been training Iraqi security forces.<br /> <br /> Obama did not say what kind of new assistance would be given to Baghdad. But two U.S. officials who are familiar with ongoing negotiations said the White House is considering air strikes and increased surveillance, requested this week by the Iraqi defense minister, as the insurgency nears Baghdad.<br /> <br /> The officials were not authorized to discuss the matter by name and spoke only on condition of anonymity.<br /> <br /> The Iraqi government has been asking for more than a year for surveillance and armed drones to combat a Sunni insurgency that has gained strength from battlefield successes in neighboring Syria.<br /> <br /> "What we've seen over the last couple of days indicates the degree to which Iraq is going to need more help," Obama said. "It's going to need more help from us, and it's going to need more help from the international community."<br /> <br /> He added: "We do have a stake in making sure that these jihadists are not getting a permanent foothold in either Iraq, or Syria for that matter."<br /> <br /> The president commented to reporters during an Oval Office meeting with Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott.<br /> <br /> Obama said he had not ruled out any options. But press secretary Jay Carney said the U.S. was not considering military "boots on the ground," and State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said the administration was not contemplating sending troops back to Iraq after leaving in 2011 at the end of an eight-year war.<br /> <br /> Several thousand Americans remain in Iraq, mostly contractors who work at the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad on programs to train Iraqi forces on American military equipment like fighter jets and tanks. One of the largest training missions was based at an air base in the city of Balad, about an hour northwest of Baghdad, where three planeloads of Americans were being evacuated on Thursday. They included 12 U.S. government officials and military personnel who have been training Iraqi forces to use fighter jets and surveillance drones.<br /> <br /> The evacuation means that the program at Balad has been suspended indefinitely. Other U.S. contractors are at a tank training ground in the city of Taji, just north of the capital, that is still in operation for now.<br /> <br /> In addition to the possible military assistance, Psaki said the U.S. is sending about $12 million in humanitarian aid to help nearly a million Iraqis who have been forced from their homes by recent fighting in the nation's north and west.<br /> <br /> Iraq has been beset by resurgent violence since the last American troops withdrew after more than eight years of war. The violence escalated this week with an al-Qaida-inspired group capturing two key Sunni-dominated cities and talking of a march on Baghdad.<br /> <br /> Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and other Iraqi leaders have pleaded with the Obama administration for more than a year for additional help to combat the insurgency, which has been fueled by the unrelenting civil war in neighboring Syria. Northern Iraq has become a way station for insurgents who routinely travel between the two countries and are seeding the Syrian war's violence in Iraq and beyond.<br /> <br /> At the Capitol on Thursday, House Speaker John Boehner said Obama's policies in Iraq were jeopardizing the progress the United States made in years of fighting. He noted that terrorists have been capturing territory, including the cities of Mosul and Tikrit, the home of the late dictator Saddam Hussein.<br /> <br /> "They're 100 miles from Baghdad," Boehner said. "And what's the president doing? Taking a nap."<br /> <br /> The president said he was watching the situation in with concern and his team was working around the clock to identify the most effective assistance. He said that while short-term military solutions were required to tamp down the growing insurgency, Iraq also needed to make longer-term political changes.<br /> <br /> If Obama orders US military strikes or involves American forces, he would face opposition in the House. Rep. Howard "Buck" McKeon, R-Calif., chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, asked, "Where are they going to get the funds?"<br /> <br /> "To just go in and burn up more resources on a place that seems bent on destruction," McKeon told reporters. "We had an opportunity there. They had an opportunity there. We blew it. They blew it. I don't think we're ready to go in another one."<br /> <br /> ---<br /> <br /> Associated Press writers Nedra Pickler, Bradley Klapper and Donna Cassata contributed to this report.
© Copyright 2016 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Judge denies motions to move, delay Tsarnaev trial
Lawyers for Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev asked a federal appeals court Wednesday to overturn a judge's decision to not move his upcoming trial out of state.
10:02PM ( 1 year ago )
High court to adopt electronic filing of cases
The Supreme Court is belatedly developing an electronic filing system similar to those used in courts around the country, Chief Justice John Roberts said Wednesday in his annual end-of-year report.
7:57PM ( 1 year ago )
Storm brings snow, cold to West for New Year's
A blustery winter storm dumped snow and ice across the West on Wednesday, making driving treacherous in the mountains from California to the Rockies and forcing residents and party-goers in some usually sun-soaked cities to bundle up for a frosty New Year's.
5:19PM ( 1 year ago )
U.S. News
Grass fire impacts rush hour traffic on 985
Rush hour traffic on I-985 was slowed by a grass fire Wednesay afternoon with one lane closed while firefighters fought the blaze.
10:19PM ( 1 year ago )
Hall County conviction, sentencing to be reviewed by SCOGA
The State Supreme Court has agreed to hear the appeal of a Hall County man when they reconvene in January.
2:37PM ( 1 year ago )
Local/State News
Committee leaves transportation funding to lawmakers
Georgia will have to cover a $1 billion to $1.5 billion transportation funding gap to stay economically competitive, a committee of lawmakers is warning in a report issued Tuesday.
5:36AM ( 1 year ago )
US off war footing at year's end, but wars go on
Taking America off a permanent war footing is proving harder than President Barack Obama may have suggested.
6:13PM ( 1 year ago )
GOP leader regrets talk to white supremacists; party leaders rally around him
House Republican leaders rallied around one of their own, Whip Steve Scalise, on Tuesday after he said he regrets speaking 12 years ago to a white supremacist organization and condemns the views of such groups.
6:08PM ( 1 year ago )
Politics
Amid shouts of 'shame,' House GOP defeats gay rights measure
Democrats shouted "shame," but House Republicans switched their votes and defeated a measure to protect gay rights
8:03PM ( 1 week ago )
CDC director Freiden warns GOP Zika bill is inadequate
The head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned Wednesday that a House GOP measure to combat the Zika virus is inadequate to deal with the swelling threat to public health
7:36PM ( 1 week ago )
Trump unveils list of his top picks for Supreme Court
Donald Trump, the presumptive Republican nominee for president, released Wednesday a list of 11 potential Supreme Court justices he plans to vet to fill the seat of late Justice Antonin Scalia if he's elected to the White House.
3:31PM ( 1 week ago )
1st US penis transplant could bring hope to maimed soldiers
A 64-year-old cancer patient has received the nation's first penis transplant, a groundbreaking operation that may also help U.S. veterans maimed by roadside bombs
8:04PM ( 1 week ago )
States dig in against directive on transgender bathroom use
Politicians in Texas, Arkansas and elsewhere are vowing defiance over the Obama administration's new directive on transgender bathroom use
9:19PM ( 1 week ago )