Washington, June 21: In the face of Sunni militants’ menacing advance towards Baghdad, US President Barack Obama has asked Iraqi leaders to come up with a political solution because “if they don’t, there won’t be a military solution to the problem.”
“We gave Iraq the chance to have an inclusive democracy,” Obama told CNN in an interview Friday asserting the US would also like to see Iraq create a command structure that includes Shiites, Sunnis and Kurds, the country’s three chief groups.
Obama Thursday made clear that America was not returning to a combat role in Iraq, but said the US was prepared to send 300 military advisers to assist Iraq. The first of US advisers will arrive in Iraq as soon as Saturday, CNN reported citing a senior defence official.
Sunni militants, called the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), said to be an Al Qaeda splinter group, have surged over from northern Syria to blitz major Iraqi cities. Senior US officials cited by CNN said the Obama administration believes that Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki is not the leader Iraq needs to unify the country and end sectarian tensions. His government is dominated by Shiites.
“It’s spies, not soldiers, which are the key to beating ISIS,” suggested Foreign Policy magazine. “In ordering hundreds of military advisors to Iraq and dramatically ramping up intelligence-gathering on jihadist fighters threatening Baghdad,” it said Obama “sent his strongest signal yet” that US airstrikes against ISIS may be likely.