[guest post by Dana]
It’s just a horrible situation:
The U.S. has started flying food and water in northern Iraq to civilians stranded there by the operations of the Islamic State, especially members of the Yazidi religious group who are trapped on a mountain after fleeing an Iraqi town called Sinjar and the surrounding area. Meanwhile, the New York Times, citing local Kurdish officials, reported that the U.S. is bombing Islamic State forces in the region, but the Pentagon has emphatically denied that. The Iraqi government has now said that its air force is doing the bombing, although the Iraqi government’s air power is significantly limited (it apparently took delivery of a certain number of Russian ground-attack fighters this year).
The White House is weighing out its military options:
The president is also considering using airstrikes to help break the siege by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) which has advanced into the Kurdish region of Iraq and seized the country’s largest dam Thursday.
About the possibility of military action, White House spokesperson Josh Earnest told reporters:
“The concern that the president has is ensuring that any sort of military action in support of the Iraqi government is coordinated with the kinds of reforms that are necessary to address this root problem that we see in Iraq.”
As a reminder, the president reassured us in 2011: “We’re leaving behind a stable and self-reliant Iraq.”
UPDATE: President Obama just authorized “targeted airstrikes” in northern Iraq. “Today America is coming to help.” Obama explained that strikes would be “launched against extremist convoys “should they move toward” the Kurdish capital of Irbil.
Obama addressed the public’s concerns about involvement in Iraq:
“I know many of you are concerned about any military action in Iraq, even limited strikes like these. I will not allow the United States to be dragged into fighting another war in Iraq… American combat troops will not be returning to fight in Iraq.”