Obama to Send Up to 275 U.S. Armed Forces to Iraq
For the protection of the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad.
President Obama told Congress in a letter Monday evening that he is sending up to 275 U.S. Armed Forces personnel to Iraq in order to "provide support and security for U.S. personnel and the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad."
Along with the letter, the White House press secretary released the following statement:
Today, consistent with the War Powers Resolution, the President transmitted a report notifying the Congress that up to approximately 275 U.S. military personnel are deploying to Iraq to provide support and security for U.S. personnel and the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad. The personnel will provide assistance to the Department of State in connection with the temporary relocation of some staff from the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad to the U.S. Consulates General in Basra and Erbil and to the Iraq Support Unit in Amman. These U.S. military personnel are entering Iraq with the consent of the Government of Iraq. The U.S. Embassy in Baghdad remains open, and a substantial majority of the U.S. Embassy presence in Iraq will remain in place and the embassy will be fully equipped to carry out its national security mission.
This order comes just days after Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel ordered the USS George H.W. Bush, an aircraft carrier, and at least two other U.S. ships to the Persian Gulf.
On Sunday, the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad evacuated some of its staff due to the threat of ISIS forces. "Some additional U.S. government security personnel will be added to the staff in Baghdad; other staff will be temporarily relocated — both to our Consulate Generals in Basra and Arbil and to the Iraq Support Unit in Amman," the State Department released in a statement.
The State Deparment has also issued a travel warning for Americans "against all but essential travel to Iraq."
This story is developing and may be updated.
CORRECTION: An earlier version of this post misstated the president's order. He announced that up to 275 U.S. military personnel will be going to Iraq.