American President Barack Obama recognised on Thursday that the situation in Iraq is an “emergency”, and he appeared from the White House’s South lawn to make a statement on the situation there.
Obama and his administration have come in for increasing criticism for perceived “drift” in foreign policy in recent weeks.
Opening his statement Obama said the Iraqi army was not able to push back the Sunni militants, and that the US would help, but would not send in troops.
He said it didn’t matter what America did, but it would all be in vain if the Iraqi government did not fight to end sectarianism. Obama said ultimately it was up to Iraqis to solve their own problems, and that the current crisis was a “wake-up call” for the government to do more to reach out to other groups and be more inclusive.
Obama regretted the fact that all the US money poured into the Iraqi security forces did not mean the Iraqi army would stand and fight, and indicated there were serious morale and discipline problems in the armed forces that the Iraqis needed to address themselves. There will be no military plan from the US without a political plan from Baghdad, he insisted.
The United States will spend the weekend studying data and several days of consultations will be undertaken before any action is decided on.