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Obama sends military advisors to Iraq

Obama sends military advisors to Iraq

by Reuters

There will be boots on the ground. Sort of. Nearly 300 U.S. military personnel are headed to Iraq and will act as advisors to the country's security forces, which are struggling to beat back an insurgency by Sunni militants.

The President, in a briefing at the White House, did make a distinction.

SOUNDBITE: U.S. President Barack Obama saying:

"American forces will not be returning to combat in Iraq, but we will help Iraqis as they take the fight to terrorists who threaten the Iraqi people, the region."

The President, who was responsible for the drawdown of U.S. forces in the country, said advisors will be stationed at key military outposts throughout the country. Many expect the "eyes on" forces will supplement the U.S.' intelligence picture of ISIL --- short for the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.

Obama made no specific comments about Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki's Shi'ite government, but did stress the need for diplomacy.


"It is clear that only leaders that can govern with an inclusive agenda that can are going to truly be able to bring the Iraqi and get them through this crisis. The United States will not support military options that support one sect inside Iraq at the expense of another."

Maliki's government has struggled to gain the trust of Kurds and Sunnis and a late night meeting earlier in the week between factions ended with little progress.