Obama to Send Up to 275 U.S. Armed Forces to Iraq

For the protection of the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad.

President Obama pauses as he announces the resignation of Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric Shinseki in the briefing room of the White House May 30, 2014 in Washington, DC.
National Journal
Brian Resnick
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Brian Resnick
June 16, 2014, 2:37 p.m.

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.

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