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Ear to the Ground

300 U.S. Troops Are Heading to Iraq

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Posted on Jun 19, 2014

    President Obama talks about the situation in Iraq in the press room of the White House on Thursday. Photo by AP/Pablo Martinez Monsivais

President Obama announced Thursday that up to 300 “military advisers” will assist Iraq’s embattled army against advancing Sunni insurgents, and insisted that the U.S. would not be drawn into another war in the country.

The Guardian reports:

The troops, drawn from US special operations forces, will assist the Iraqi military to develop and execute a counter-offensive against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isis). Their mission is likely to spread to the selection of targets for any future air strikes, but Obama stopped short of accepting a plea from Baghdad to order US air power into the skies over Iraq immediately.

Instead, Obama said the option of air strikes would be held in reserve. Any such strikes would be “targeted” and “precise”, Obama said, warning that the fate of the country “hangs in the balance”.

The fighting continued in Iraq on Thursday as Isis militants fought Iraqi troops in an intense battle the at the Baiji oil refinery. The facility, the country’s largest, is between the cities of Mosul and Tikrit, both seized by Isis last week.

Read more here.

—Posted by Alexander Reed Kelly.

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