Update: "American forces will not be returning to combat in Iraq," President Obama said on Thursday in a statement on the situation in the country. However, the President also said that he would consult with Congress, Iraq, and regional leaders if the administration deems "targeted and precise military action" to be necessary. In the meantime, Obama said the U.S. is prepared to send up to 300 advisors to Iraq to assist the country through its crisis. Secretary of State John Kerry will leave for the region this weekend for diplomatic talks.
When asked about Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's leadership, Obama said that "It's not our job to choose Iraq's leaders," adding that "I don't it's any secret" that there are "deep divisions" between Sunni, Shia, and Kurdish leaders.
Original post: President Obama will make a statement at 1:15 p.m. on the situation in Iraq. That statement, according to the Associated Press, will include an announcement that the U.S. is sending about 100 Green Berets to the country, to "train and advise Iraqi forces." The statement will follow a Thursday meeting between the president and his national security team.
It is not clear, however, whether the president will call for the resignation of Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. Although many U.S. leaders seem to want him to step down, the administration has stopped short of asking him to leave office as the chaos continues in Iraq. The U.S. would like to see al-Maliki's Shiite government replaced with one interested in unifying with, rather than marginalizing, the Sunni minority population.
So far, the president has taken "boots on the ground" combat missions to Iraq off the table for the U.S. military. But everything else — including air strikes — are still an eventual possibility.
Watch Obama's statement live, here:
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