President Obama speaks at the White House on June 30 as Vice President Biden stands behind him. (Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images)
President Obama told Congress on Monday that he is deploying about 200 more troops to Iraq to bolster security at the US Embassy and airport in Baghdad.
These and previously announced forces are being sent “for the purpose of protecting US citizens and property, if necessary, and (are) equipped for combat,” Obama said in a letter to Congress required under the US War Powers Resolution.
Earlier this month, Obama announced the deployment of 275 troops to protect the embassy.
In addition to security, these troops will provide “intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance support,” Obama said.
The president is also in the process of sending up to 300 military advisers to assist Iraq as it battles an invading army of jihadists that has taken over major cities and threatens the capital in Baghdad.
Obama said forces “will remain in Iraq until the security situation becomes such that it is no longer needed.”
The U.S. is also sending helicopters and drones that can “bolster airfield and travel route security,” Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said.
“The presence of these additional forces will help enable the embassy to continue its critical diplomatic mission and work with Iraq on challenges they are facing as they confront Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL),” Kirby said.
Jackson writes for USA Today.