On Thursday, US President Barack Obama made a statement on Iraq in which he authorised military air strikes in Iraq should the terrorist organisation Islamic State (ISIL) cross red lines set forth during the same speech.
“To stop the advance on Erbil, I’ve directed our military to take targeted strikes against ISIL terrorist convoys should they move toward the city.”
“We intend to stay vigilant and take action if these terrorist forces threaten our personnel or facilities anywhere in Iraq.”
Obama went on to explain that the US is also “providing urgent assistance to the Iraqi government and Kurdish forces, so they can more effectively wage the fight against ISIL.”
At the time of the speech, the US had already dropped food and water supplies to the Yazidi population that fled to Mount Sinjar, fearing for their lives and “facing certain death.”
Obama assured that the US would not be engaging in a new war in Iraq, “because there is no American military solution to the larger crisis in Iraq.”
Acknowledging potential criticism and backlash regarding US hard power intervention, Obama defended his decision, clarifying that these actions are in response to a moral imperative to protect Iraqi civilians and prevent a possible genocide.
“I know that many of you are rightly concerned about any American military action in Iraq, even limited strikes like these,” he said. “I understand that. I ran for this office in part to end our war in Iraq and welcome our troops home, and that’s what we’ve done. As commander in chief, I will not allow the United States to be dragged into fighting another war in Iraq.”
Below is the full speech: