Results tagged “United States”
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US military advisers opened a joint operations center in Baghdad to assist the Iraqi military repel the advance of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Sham. The State Department said Syrian military action in Iraq would not be helpful, but that Iran "could play a constructive role" in Iraq. The White House called for the allocation of $500 million to train and equip vetted, "moderate" Syrian rebels; the Pentagon program would supplement or replace the current small covert CIA effort. The White House proposal included budget cuts for US operations in Afghanistan. The Pentagon said the elite counterterrorist Joint Special Operations Task Force Philippines is being phased out, with staff reduced from its current 320 members to a dozen or so advisers.
Secretary of State Kerry said there is "no military solution" to the crisis in Iraq, and urged all countries in the region to expel the Islamic State of Iraq and the Sham. Kerry also called on the Kurds to support Iraqi unity. US military officials said about half of the US "assessment" troops promised for Iraq have arrived, and that American forces have been conducting 30 to 35 intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance flights per day in Iraq with manned aircraft and drones. The Pentagon denied rumors that US drones struck in Iraq. A federal appeals court yesterday released a 2010 Justice Department memo authorizing the killing of US citizen and al Qaeda ideologue Anwar al Awlaki in Yemen. Officials have indicated that the US' hands-off policy toward Libya is not likely to change.
President Obama said the Islamic State of Iraq and the Sham poses a "medium and longterm threat" to the US, but that other terrorist groups may present more immediate threats, and said "ISIS is just one of a number of organizations that we have to stay focused on," mentioning al Qaeda in Yemen and Boko Haram. He said the US cannot just "play whack-a-mole and send US troops occupying various countries wherever these organizations pop up." Mike Rogers, head of the House Intelligence Committee, countered that the fight against ISIS is in the US national security interest. Secretary of State Kerry said ISIS poses a "threat not only to Iraq, but to the entire region," and urged Arab countries to stop funding Sunni fighters in Syria and Iraq.