The United States will send up to 300 non-combatant military advisers to aid the Iraqi government in its war against ISIS rebels, President Obama announced today. From the New York Times:
“It is in our national security interest not to see an all-out civil war in Iraq,” Mr. Obama said to reporters in the White House briefing room, after a meeting of his national security council.
The president said the additional military advisers would staff two joint operations centers, in Baghdad and outside, in which the United States and Iraqi forces would share intelligence and planning.
Mr. Obama also said the United States would supply Iraqi forces with technology and equipment, drawing on the Counterterrorism Partnership Fund that he announced in a foreign-policy speech at the United States Military Academy in West Point.
The president had previously disclosed that up to 275 troops were being sent to Iraq to help protect the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad and its personnel.
Obama emphasized that the United States would prefer a political solution to the conflct—but seemed to avoid opportunities to praise current Iraqi prime minister Nouri al-Maliki. The Times piece says that “American officials have privately concluded that Mr. Maliki cannot head a national unity government,” a claim that has also been reported elsewhere.