As the latest conflict in Iraq continues to unfold, the Obama administration says U.S. airstrikes against Islamic militants appear to be working, and the U.S. carried out another humanitarian aid mission Tuesday. Washington bureau reporter Geoff Bennett filed the following report for NY1.
There was relief for desperate Iraqis rescued from a barren mountain, where they had been trapped by Islamic State militants for more than a week without food, water or medical care.
Last week, the U.S. began a series of targeted airstrikes in Iraq, designed to drive back the militants and protect U.S. personnel and religious minorities. On Tuesday, the Obama administration said it's sticking to its strategy of limited military involvement.
"There will be no reintroduction of American combat forces into Iraq," said Secretary of State John Kerry. "That is the beginning of the discussion."
Obama said Iraq's biggest challenge is political. Iraq's prime minister, Nouri al-Maliki, has frustrated U.S. officials by refusing to build a coalition government.
"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" Obama said.
Iraq's president on Monday named a new prime minister, a move that Obama called "a promising step forward."
Politically, Democrats have urged Obama to limit the military's involvement in Iraq, particularly in this midterm election year, but Republicans have criticized the president, saying the narrow military effort is not a strong or coherent strategy for Iraq.