President Obama notified Congress on Monday that starting Sunday, June 15th, approximately 275 U.S. Armed Forces personnel were deploying to Iraq to provide security for the U.S. Embassy and its staff in Baghdad. (Read the full text of the letter).
From USA Today:
President Obama notified Congress on Monday that about 275 U.S. military personnel are deploying to Iraq to provide support and security for U.S. personnel and the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad.
Obama also said the troops are equipped for combat and will remain in Iraq until the security situation becomes such that they are no longer needed. These forces are entering Iraq with the consent of the government there, White House press secretary Jay Carney said.
He said the report to Congress is consistent with the War Powers Resolution.
The Pentagon said 170 of the troops arrived over the weekend in Baghdad and another 100 were moved into the region to help with embassy security as some of the staff was being relocated in the area. The embassy remains open and operating.
While the US embassy remains operating, the State Department announced on Sunday that additional security personnel would be added to the staff in Baghdad, though some of its other staff would be temporarily relocated.
The United Nations also announced Monday that it has relocated nearly 60 of its staff from Baghdad to Amman, Jordan, according to Thomson Reuters. A spokesman for the UN indicated that additional relocations could be possible in the next few days.
Obama was expected to meet with his National Security team on Monday evening to consider options in response to the insurgency in Iraq.
White House Principal Deputy Press Secretary Josh Earnest said Monday that Obama will meet with his national security team Monday evening, after having directed them last week to prepare a range of options for U.S. intervention for his consideration. Obama ruled out deploying American forces on the ground as part of any effort to counter the ISIS offensive, but administration officials are contemplating other options, including airstrikes.
A spokesman for John Boehner said the Speaker of the House supports the deployment, but wants Obama to present a broader strategy for Iraq. “The Speaker supports the ongoing steps to secure US personnel and facilities in the midst of a fluid situation, but he still expects a comprehensive strategy to protect America’s national security interests in Iraq,” said Michael Steel. “We hope the President will offer such a plan in coming days. Too many Americans sacrificed too much to allow Iraq to slip back into chaos.”
A video report on the situation in Iraq is below, from USA Today.
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