White House Mulls Options to Support Iraq

President Obama said Thursday the United States is mulling what type of military support to offer the Iraqi government to help it deal “with what clearly is an emergency situation” in Iraq. “There will be some short-term, immediate things that need to be done militarily, and our national security team is looking at all the options,” he told reporters in the White House. “I don’t rule out anything, because 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,” he said. His comments came as a radical Islamist force continued to expand its foothold in Iraq, threatening Baghdad after taking Mosul and other portions of the country. The Iraqi government has reportedly asked the United States to carry out airstrikes against this force. “It’s unclear how airstrikes on our part can succeed unless the Iraqi army is willing to fight, and that’s uncertain given the fact that several Iraqi army divisions have melted away,” said Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.), Senate Armed Services Committee chairman, in a statement on June 12. (See also McCain-Graham statement.)