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Obama provides update on military and humanitarian aid to Iraq

U.S. President Barack Obama, speaking from his vacation spot in Martha's Vineyard, provided an update on America's humanitarian and military aid to Iraq, and hailed the designation of a new prime minister as "a promising step forward..."
By JC Finley   |   Aug. 11, 2014 at 6:31 PM  |  Updated Aug. 11, 2014 at 8:05 PM   |   Comments

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WASHINGTON, Aug. 11 (UPI) -- U.S. President Barack Obama hailed Iraq's appointment on Monday of a new prime minister as "a promising step forward..."

Speaking from his vacation spot in Martha's Vineyard, Obama said he wanted to provide an update on developments in Iraq.

The U.S., he said, continues to provide both military assistance and humanitarian relief to Iraq.

The United States is supplying both Kurdish peshmerga and Iraqi security forces with additional military advice and assistance to help them battle Sunni Islamic State militants. "Over the past few days," the president noted, "American forces successfully conducted targeted airstrikes to prevent terrorist forces from advancing on the city of Erbil," the seat of the Kurdish government and location of the U.S. consulate.

Following up on his announcement last Thursday that the U.S. would provide humanitarian airdrops of needed supplies to the tens of thousands of Yazidis trapped by Islamic State militants on top of Mount Sinjar in northwestern Iraq, the president noted that "daily humanitarian efforts" are on-going. A USAID Disaster Assistance Response Team has also been deployed.

Military and humanitarian aid, the president emphasized, will be focused and limited to the following objectives: "protecting American citizens, providing advice and assistance to Iraqi forces as they battle these terrorists, and joining with international partners to provide humanitarian aid."

"... as I said when I authorized these operations, there is no American military solution to the larger crisis in Iraq. The only lasting solution is for Iraqis to come together and form an inclusive government -- one that represents the legitimate interests of all Iraqis, and on that can unify the country's fight against ISIL."

Obama's endorsement of Iraqi President Fouad Massoum's nomination of Haider al-Abadi as the new prime minister comes as incumbent Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has expressed his anger over not being retained, igniting concerns of a potential coup.

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