Obama says ending Iraq's crisis will take time -UPDATED

Obama said the United States would continue to provide military assistance and advice to the Baghdad government and Kurdish forces, but stressed repeatedly the importance of Iraq forming its own inclusive government

Obama says ending Iraq's crisis will take time -UPDATED

World Bulletin/News Desk

U.S. President Barack Obama said on Saturday U.S. airstrikes have destroyed arms and equipment that ISIL insurgents could have used to attack Arbil, the Iraqi Kurdish capital, but warned Americans it could take some time to end the crisis.

"I don't think we're going to solve this problem in weeks. This is going to take some time," Obama told reporters before leaving Washington for a two-week vacation in Massachusetts.

Obama said the United States would continue to provide military assistance and advice to the Baghdad government and Kurdish forces, but stressed repeatedly the importance of Iraq forming its own inclusive government "right now."

"I think this a wake-up call for a lot of Iraqis inside of Baghdad recognizing that we're going to have to rethink how we do business if we're going to hold our country together," he said.

Since an inconclusive general election in April, Baghdad has been in the grips of political deadlock, which has undermined efforts to combat the insurgents. Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki is under mounting pressure to abandon his bid for a third term in office but has shown little desire to step down.

Obama on Thursday authorized the U.S. military to make airdrops of humanitarian assistance to prevent what he called a potential "genocide" of the Yazidi religious sect in Iraq and conduct targeted strikes on ISIL fighters who have been seizing territory in northern Iraq, a limited operation to protect Americans working in the country.


It was the first direct U.S. military action there since Obama withdrew U.S. combat troops in 2011, and prompted concerns that Washington is getting involved in an open-ended Iraq project so soon after the costly and bloody war that began in 2003.

Obama said there had been two successful airdrops of food and water. He described next steps, including what would be a more complicated effort to create a safe corridor for the Yazidis to leave the arid mountain where they have been under siege by the fighters.

Obama emphasized that there are no plans to send in U.S. ground troops, again stressing the need for a unified government in Baghdad. "The most important timetable that I'm focused on right now is the Iraqi government getting formed and finalized," he said.

"We should have learned a lesson from our long and immensely costly incursion in Iraq," said the Democratic president, who made his opposition to the war launched by his Republican predecessor George W. Bush a key part of his first successful presidential campaign in 2008.

Obama said he spoke on Saturday with British Prime Minister David Cameron and French President Francois Hollande and they agreed to provide humanitarian assistance for Iraqi civilians.

The White House said Obama and Hollande talked about the need for a coordinated international response to the humanitarian crisis. The two also discussed U.S. airstrikes and agreed to work together on a longer-term strategy to combat the militant group, the White House said in a statement.

Obama rejected any suggestion that he had withdrawn U.S. forces from Iraq prematurely, noting that it was Baghdad's decision not to allow troops to stay.

He said the Iraqi operations would not need the U.S. Congress to authorize additional funds for the moment, but he would make that request if it became necessary.


The United States has carried out a third wave of air strikes on Islamic State militants, as well as dropping more supplies to civilians hiding in the mountains in northern Iraq.

The U.S. military’s Central Command said in a statement on Saturday evening: "At approximately 11:20 a.m. EDT (14.20 GMT), a mix of U.S. fighters and remotely piloted aircraft struck one of two ISIL [Islamic State] armored personnel carriers firing on Yazidi [Ezidi] civilians near Sinjar, destroying the APC.”

U.S. forces monitored the movement of other armored vehicles and an armed truck which were firing on Ezidi civilians around Sinjar. In a further two attacks, the aircraft fired on two APCs and the truck.

A further APC was attacked more than three hours later, the statement added.

The third air drop of food and water saw a C-17 Globemaster and two C-130 Hercules cargo planes drop 72 bundles of supplies.

Congressional Republicans have backed Obama's willingness to bomb the militants and provide humanitarian aid, but questioned whether the president has an overall strategy for dealing with the ISIL's advances.

The president has come under fire from some Republican lawmakers for leaving for his scheduled holiday on Martha's Vineyard while the crisis in Iraq rages, although he has taken fewer days of vacation to this point in his tenure than Bush.

While making his remarks, Obama was dressed in work clothes without a necktie. After speaking he returned to his residence before re-emerging with his wife and his eldest daughter, Malia, with whom he boarded a waiting helicopter.

Asked by a journalist if he was looking forward to his time off, he replied, "I'm ready to not have a suit on for a while."

Obama's approval ratings have slipped as he has faced a series of crises in his second term, including the bungled rollout of the Affordable Care Act health insurance law, the surge of child immigrants crossing the southwestern border illegally and renewed fighting in Iraq.

In one survey released in July by Quinnipiac University, respondents gave Obama the lowest approval ratings of any president in modern times. However, polling by Gallup has shown that while Islamic State successes in Iraq dented Obama's popularity, over the period between late April and mid-July, Obama's job rating increased to 43.2 percent from 42.4 percent, and has risen modestly for two quarters in a row.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 10 Ağustos 2014, 10:58

Muhammed Öylek