In what has become a nearly daily occurrence, President Obama summoned the media to discuss the situation in Iraq (and Ferguson, Missouri) from his vacation spot in Martha’s Vineyard.

The President seemed to take a victory lap on United States’ efforts to stabilize the Yazidi refugee crisis in Northern Iraq.

President Obama announced Thursday that U.S.-led airstrikes have broken the siege by Islamic militants against religious minorities who were trapped on a mountain in northern Iraq — but made clear the U.S. mission in the region is not over yet.

The president, in brief remarks from Martha’s Vineyard where his family is on vacation, said he expects the specific operation at Mount Sinjar to wind down. He said military planners will be leaving in the coming days, aid drops will stop and a U.S.-led evacuation is likely no longer needed.

“The situation on the mountain has greatly improved,” Obama said. “We broke the ISIL siege of Mount Sinjar. We helped vulnerable people reach safety.”

But Obama said U.S. involvement will not come to an end, as militants with the Islamic State — also known as ISIS, or ISIL — continue to brutalize the civilian population in the region, especially minorities like Iraqi Christians and Yazidis.

Obama said “we will continue airstrikes” where necessary to protect American personnel and facilities in Iraq.

Obama also reiterated his oft-repeated promise that there won’t be “boots on the ground” in Iraq to fight ISIS — despite the fact that U.S. Special Forces have already been on the ground to assess the situation on Mount Sinjar. One presumes that Special Forces and military advisers to the Iraqi Security Forces do wear boots, but perhaps Obama knows best.

What Obama did not do — and hasn’t done — is lay out a coherent strategy on how to deal with ISIS over the short or long haul. He mentioned continued U.S. air power being used to tactically handle the Yazidi humanitarian situation, but that’s about it.

And when the French are ridiculing an American President’s resolve on Islamic terror, you know the world is topsy-turvy.

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius has a message about Iraq for Barack Obama: Get back to the White House and do something.

‘I know it is the holiday period in our Western countries,’ Fabius told a radio interviewer Tuesday in France,’ but when people are dying, you must come back from vacation.’

Meanwhile, from the dove wing of the Democratic party, President Obama has some pressure building to curtail any further U.S. involvement in Iraq.

Although President Obama may wish that the crisis in Iraq is over, the situation on the ground throughout the country is far from stable. Today, the United Nations declared its highest level of emergency in Iraq due to the deteriorating security conditions.

Fighting erupted early on Thursday in the rebel-held city of Fallujah, about 65km west of Baghdad.

The clashes on the city’s northern outskirts killed four children, along with a woman and at least 10 fighters, said Fallujah hospital director Ahmed Shami.

Fallujah has been in the hands of the Islamic State since early January, when the group seized much of Western Anbar province along with parts of the provincial capital of Ramadi.

The fighting came as the UN declared the situation in Iraq a “Level 3 Emergency” – a development that will trigger additional goods, funds and assets to respond to the needs of the displaced, said UN special representative Nickolay Mladenov, pointing to the “scale and complexity of the current humanitarian catastrophe.”

The Security Council also said it was backing a newly nominated premier-designate in the hope that he can swiftly form an “inclusive government” that could counter the threat from rebels, which has plunged Iraq into its worst crisis since the US troop withdrawal in 2011.

The long-term situation in Iraq seems more perilous than ever today — but at least President Obama could have a “mission accomplished” moment before he headed to the golf course on Thursday afternoon.


UPDATE:
This afternoon, the political impasse that has plagued the Iraqi government ended: Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has stepped aside.