WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama said on Friday he will take several days to review options for how the United States can help Iraq deal with a militant insurgency, saying any action would need significant involvement by Iraq itself.
“The United States is not simply going to involve itself in a military action in the absence of a political plan by the Iraqis that gives us some assurance that they are prepared to work together,” Obama said, making it clear that he would not send U.S. troops back into combat in Iraq.
“We are not going to be able to do it for them,” he added.
The threat by militants from the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, or ISIL, in Iraq poses a danger to the people of Iraq and also, potentially Americans, Obama told reporters at the White House.
“This is a regional problem, and it is going to be a long-term problem. And what we’re going to have to do is combine selective actions by our military to make sure that we’re going after terrorists who could harm our personnel overseas or eventually hit the homeland,” Obama said.
Obama said the insurgency so far has not caused major disruptions to oil supplies from Iraq, but that if insurgents took control of refineries, other oil producers in the Middle East would need to help “pick up the slack.”
“That will be part of the consultations that will be taking place during the course of this week,” Obama said.