President Obama held a press conference to clarify what would be done about the increasing threat of ISIS in Iraq.
President Obama said Thursday the U.S. is “prepared to take targeted and precise military action” in Iraq if the situation on the ground requires it.
Obama added that if he decides to take military action in Iraq, he would consult with Congress and world leaders.
Secretary of State John Kerry will travel to the Middle East and Europe to hold talks on the crisis gripping Iraq, Obama said. The U.S. is also prepared to send up to 300 military advisers to consult with Iraqi forces.
The U.S. has “significantly” increased intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance efforts in Iraq, Obama said, to home in on the exact whereabouts of threats presented by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).
“It is in our national security interest to not see an all-out civil war in Iraq,” Obama said.
Obama reiterated that “American combat troops are not going to be fighting in Iraq again. We don’t’ have the ability to solve this problem by sending in American troops.”
ISIS, an offshoot of al-Qaeda, has made gains in Iraq, taking control of key cities as it aims to advance on Baghdad, the capital. The U.S. has been carefully weighing its options in response to the growing turmoil.
During the Q&A he elaborated on the question of what role the US would play, saying that he had no intention of supporting one group over the other, but that the newly-elected Iraqi government needed to take the opportunity to find political resolutions to sectarian issues.