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Limited US troops to Iraq – Obama
June 17, 2014, 6:34 am

Residents of Mosul, including tribal members, cheer an ISIL procession a week after the city fell to a coalition of anti-government militias [AP]

Residents of Mosul, including tribal members, cheer an ISIL procession a week after the city fell to a coalition of anti-government militias [AP]


US President Barack Obama has said that he will send “up to” 275 soldiers to Iraq to primarily secure the embassy in Baghdad and assist the government there in its fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).

The limited deployment comes as Washington begins to withdraw some personnel from its embassy in Baghdad and the UN withdraws its 58 staff working in the country.

However, US media have emphasised that this is unlikely a combat mission and that US forces will not participate with the Iraqi army in its fight against ISIL, which has been slowly moving toward the capital.

On Monday, ISIL fighters managed to push back the Iraqi army and seized the strategic northern multi-ethnic town of Tal Afar in Nineveh Province.

Their expansion comes after securing Iraq’s second largest city, Mosul, the capital of Nineveh.

Since then, they have also seized the town of Tikrit, where executed President Saddam Hussein was raised.

ISIL’s quick push toward Baghdad – which has since been somewhat halted by Iraqi army regulars and Shia militia who answered a call to jihad to fight extremist forces – has alarmed Western powers and the UN.

Earlier this week, US Secretary of State John Kerry said that drone strikes against ISIL fighters could not be ruled out. In the meantime, the USS George H.W. Bush aircraft carrier was ordered to move from the North Arabian Sea into the Gulf in the Middle East.

“This force is deploying for the purpose of protecting US citizens and property, if necessary, and is equipped for combat,” Obama said in a letter to House Speaker John Boehner and other legislators and lawmakers.

“This force will remain in Iraq until the security situation becomes such that it is no longer needed,” he added.

Late on Monday, US military officials announced that a transport vessel the USS Mesa Verde would also join the carrier force.

Source: Agencies

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