Iran sends forces to Iraq; Obama won’t send troops but considering ‘other options’
By End the Lie
While Islamist militants continue to push toward Baghdad, Iran is reportedly sending troops to fight alongside Iraqi government forces and Obama said he is not going to send US troops.
Read our latest: “Iraq faces ‘disintegration’ as militants push toward Baghdad; Obama leaves options open” and “Militants in Iraq seize Tikrit, take Turkish diplomats hostage, carry out mass beheadings”
An unnamed senior security official in Baghdad told CNN that Iran sent some 500 Revolutionary Guard troops into Iraq in recent days to fight with Iraqi security forces in the Diyala province, which extends from northeast of Baghdad to the border with Iran.
A Saudi intelligence official told CNN that Sunni tribal leaders have allied themselves with militants from the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS). This alliance will reportedly make their push toward Baghdad even easier.
The militants have been making rapid gains in the country, and it seems the American response will be far from immediate.
On Friday, President Barack Obama warned that the U.S. would not be able to react for “several days.”
“This is not going to happen overnight,” Obama said.
While Obama said he will not send troops to Iraq, he told reporters that he asked his national security team “to prepare a range of other options” to respond to the Islamist insurgents.
Obama said that the Iraqi government would have to work toward a political solution to the increasingly volatile sectarian division in the country.
“We can’t do it for them,” he said repeatedly.
Obama said that the U.S. will not carry out a military strike until the Iraqi government takes visible steps to bridging the gaps between groups.
The U.S. will not provide military assistance “in the absence of a political plan by the Iraqis that gives us some assurance they’re going to work together,” Obama said.
Obama acknowledged the fact that the instability in Iraq could spell danger for the country and its people. The instability “could eventually pose a threat to America and its interests as well,” Obama said.
The U.S. has not ruled out airstrikes and all options except troops are still on the table, according to Obama.
“We will not be sending U.S. troops back into combat in Iraq,” he said, according to The Los Angeles Times.
The Times notes that former administration officials and private analysts have recommended air strikes carried out by drones or manned aircraft on ISIS fighters.
“Many Iraqi army troops have left their positions ahead of the militant group’s advance, abandoning their weapons and armored vehicles to the invaders,” the Times reports.
ISIS fighters surrounded the Baiji oil refinery after capturing the town on Wednesday, according most recent update coming out of Iraq via The Telegraph.
The Mujahedin-e Khalq (MEK), which was delisted as a terrorist organization by the State Department in 2012, has reportedly expressed support for the ISIS terrorists on their website, according to The Telegraph.
ISIS, who the MEK call “revolutionaries,” have tweeted a picture of the decapitated head of an Iraqi policeman, adding, “This is our football, it’s made of skin #World Cup.” They also boasted of slaughtering 1,700 soldiers, according to The Telegraph.