President Obama has promised that the recent upswing in unrest across Iraq will not result in the United States re-engaging in the region, but that apparently will not stop Mr. Obama from ordering some US Armed Forces personnel into Iraq.
As The Inquisitr reported earlier today, the Obama administration is considering a wide range of options with regard to dealing with the problem of ISIS in Iraq. Among them are the possibility of drone strikes on ISIS’ strongholds, and the administration has signaled that it would be open to partnering with Iraq’s neighbor, Iran, to deal with the situation. A common thread running throughout the administration’s statements on the matter, though, is that a redeployment of US troops to the troubled nation is a non-starter.
In a letter to Congress on Monday, though, Mr. Obama said that he is ordering 275 troops to Iraq. Their purpose there: to maintain the security of US personnel and the US Embassy in Baghdad. The full text of the letter is below:
“Starting on June 15, 2014, up to approximately 275 US Armed Forces personnel are deploying to Iraq to provide support and security for US personnel and the US Embassy in Baghdad.
“This force is deploying for the purpose of protecting US citizens and property, if necessary, and is equipped for combat.
“This force will remain in Iraq until the security situation becomes such that it is no longer needed.
“This action has been directed consistent with my responsibility to protect US citizens both at home and abroad, and in furtherance of US national security and foreign policy interests, pursuant to my constitutional authority to conduct US foreign relations and as Commander in Chief and Chief Executive.
“I am providing this report as part of my efforts to keep the Congress fully informed, consistent with the War Powers Resolution (Public Law 93-148). I appreciate the support of the Congress in these actions.”
The News Tribune notes that the administration is considering sending a contingent of special forces soldiers in order to assist in relocating personnel from the US Embassy in Iraq. However, those forces would reportedly not see combat against ISIS elements.
ISIS, or the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, is said to be responsible for acts of violence in Iraq dating back to 2004, when the group was known as Al Qaeda in Iraq. Its purported goal is the establishment of an Islamic caliphate spanning both Syria and Iraq, and ISIS’ war against the Iraqi government in pursuance of that goal has only grown stronger over the years.
ISIS’ surge highlights the difficulty that the United States and Western powers have had in holding Iraq together as something resembling a western-style democracy. Iraq’s current borders — as is the case with a number of Middle Eastern nations — exist due to arguably arbitrary lines drawn by British and French diplomats as they divvied up the Ottoman Empire. What is today called Iraq is an entity lashing together Kurdish, Sunni, and Shia populations within the region, and the degree of national identity among those groups is a subject of debate among scholars on the region.