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.
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.
What We're Following See More »
A Russian government think tank run by Putin loyalists "developed a plan to swing the 2016 U.S. presidential election to Donald Trump and undermine voters’ faith in the American electoral system." Two confidential documents from the Putin-backed Institute for Strategic Studies, obtained by U.S. intelligence, provide "the framework and rationale for what U.S. intelligence agencies have concluded was an intensive effort by Russia to interfere with the Nov. 8 election."
"The FBI last year used a dossier of allegations of Russian ties to Donald Trump's campaign as part of the justification" to monitor Carter Page, who was then a defense adviser to the Trump campaign. "The dossier has also been cited by FBI Director James Comey in some of his briefings to members of Congress in recent weeks."
"The Air Force is set to deploy its high-tech, fifth-generation F-35A fighter jets to Europe this weekend as part of an effort to assure U.S. allies there who are worried about Russian aggression." The new, state-of-the-art fighters will train with European air units. "The Pentagon noted that the deployment had been long planned, meaning it was not a reaction to recent increasing tensions between the United States and Russia," although a statement noted the move is part of the "European Reassurance Initiative," which began three years ago when Russia annexed Crimea.