District of Columbia (DC) — President Obama says he is reviewing options for possibly taking action in Iraq due to a increased fighting there.
Al Qaeda-aligned militants have toppled cities in the country’s north and threaten to advance toward Baghdad.
President Obama said he does not plan to send American troops back into Iraq and does not plan to put troops on the ground, “The U.S. is not simply going to involve itself in a military plan without a political plan from the Iraqis that allows us to work together.”
The President said he will keep Congress up to date and will discuss possible actions with them.
Airstrikes are among the options on the table, White House spokesman Jay Carney said Thursday.
Three planes loaded with Americans have evacuated from a major Iraqi air base north of Baghdad.
Emboldened Sunni militants, backed by local tribal leaders, pushed toward Baghdad on Friday as Iran sent troops to fight alongside government forces.
In Washington, increasingly nervous U.S. officials mulled their limited options to help slow the militants’ advance.
In recent days, Iran has sent about 500 Revolutionary Guard troops to fight alongside Iraqi government security forces in Diyala province, a senior security official in Baghdad told CNN.
Meanwhile, Sunni tribal leaders have lined up behind radical Islamists from the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, or ISIS, making their push toward Baghdad easier, a Saudi intelligence official told CNN’s Nic Robertson.
As Iraq further disintegrated, residents fled Mosul in droves.
Militants captured the country’s second-largest city this week after soldiers scattered, leaving their uniforms and weapons behind.
The spreading violence prompted U.S. President Barack Obama to say the beleaguered government required assistance.