White House warns Congress could be bypassed, as Obama mulls Iraqi air strikes request
With the US aircraft carrier, USS George HW Bush poised in the Persian Gulf, the world waits for the White House’s response to an Iraqi request for air strikes against Sunni militants.
On Wednesday President Obama met congressional leaders to discuss options. He stressed that if required he could bypass Congress.
But the question of whether the US will use direct military force remains unanswered, with a range of options said to be available, including logistical support for Iraqi forces.
The White house has also strengthened calls for a unity government to solve growing sectarian divides. White House spokesman Jay Carney outlined the position of the Obama administration.
“ The United States retains the right to act in defence of our national security interests when the Commander-in-Chief views that as necessary and he retains that right in this case and in all cases. But again, taking direct military action by the United States will not solve Iraq’s challenges, certainly not alone.”
Military support and aid may be on the cards, but a political solution would likely prove more palatable, Iraq’s foreign minister has been in Saudi Arabia for key Arab league talks.
Baghdad has accused the country of backing the Sunni militants fighting in Iraq, a claim Saudi Arabia denies.