WASHINGTON – As vicious jihadi rebels cut a bloody swath through Iraq and begin marching on Baghdad, President Obama said he will not increase American assistance to keep the country from falling to terrorists.
The president said he will not be sending U.S. troops into Iraq, but airstrikes still could be a possibility.
Obama announced Friday that he had asked his national security adviser for options, but said any action by the U.S. would be several days away.
Iraq observers say, by then, the country and its capital of Baghdad may well have fallen to the terrorists formerly called al-Qaida in Iraq and Syria, now known as the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Shams (ISIS), and all that the U.S. military fought and died for in that country may be lost.
The president seemed to think the impending fall of the country is a political rather than a military problem, telling the Iraq government it would have to work out a plan to make its factions work together more congenially before he could send help.
Instead of committing to swift military action to try to prevent the loss of the country to terrorists, the president called it “a wake-up call for Iraq.”
Obama said the U.S. will provide no additional assistance at all, unless Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki commits to political reforms such as bringing the Sunnis back into the government, limiting his own powers and reconstructing the Iraqi military.
The terrorists’ advance through the heart of the country has been swift and furious this week, taking the cities of Tikrit and Mosul, the country’s second-largest city, with little resistance.
Iraqi troops, who outnumbered the terrorists, reportedly threw down their weapons, tore off their uniforms and ran at the sight of the zealous enemy.
Critics say Obama left Iraq vulnerable by not reaching a status-of-forces agreement with the Iraqi government before withdrawing U.S. troops.
U.S. forces remained on peace-keeping missions in South Korea, Europe and Japan after previous wars and still maintain a strong presence in those locations today.
Thursday, State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki was grilled by reporters after flatly declaring, “Obviously, the withdrawal from Iraq in 2011 was not a mistake.”
Rep. Steve Stockman strongly contradicted that assertion Friday, telling WND, “Iraq was won. The blood-soaked mayhem we see is the result of a president who states carbon dioxide is a bigger threat than terrorism and breaks the law to free terrorist leaders from Gitmo.”
He added, “Al-Qaida smells weakness and seized the opportunity. This kind of terror also threatens Egypt and other allies. It’s time to stand strong in defense of peace.”
The administration is also coming under criticism for the release of the ISIS terrorist leader from U.S. detention four years ago.
According to the Daily Telegraph, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the new leader of ISIS, was a detainee at the U.S.-run Camp Bucca in southern Iraq.
The paper reported that the question of why such a ferocious individual was deemed fit for release in 2009 is not known.
One possible explanation was that he was one of thousands of suspected insurgents granted amnesty.
Apparently someone regretted releasing Baghdadi. He has an FBI mugshot and a $10-million bounty on his head.
This is bound to cause more criticism for the administration, after it just released five top Taliban commanders from the prison at Guantanamo in exchange for Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl.
The president, himself, said he could not guarantee the Taliban leaders wouldn’t resume killing Americans.
CNN reported Friday, “Iran has sent about 500 Revolutionary Guard troops to fight alongside Iraqi government security forces in Diyala province,” according to a senior security official. CNN noted that the claim was rejected by Iran’s Foreign Ministry.
At the press briefing Thursday, a reporter asked if the State Department would support Iran sending troops to help the Iraqi military, since “most Americans wouldn’t want you to re-invade Iraq, as it were.”
“Mm-hmm,” answered spokeswoman Psaki.
The reporter pressed on, asking if it would be constructive if the Iranians sent troops.
Psaki would not confirm whether the administration would welcome Iranian troops entering the battle, saying, “I don’t have any analysis from our team at this point in terms of what specific constructive role they could play.”