President Barack Obama said he would send 275 U.S. military personnel to Iraq to protect and defend the American Embassy in Baghdad, the Associated Press reported on Monday. Congress decided to send help to Iraq amid a violent insurgency by the jihadist group Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS).
Troops sent to Iraq will help with the relocation of staff members. Those being evacuated from the embassy in Baghdad will be flown to U.S. consulates in Basra and Erbil and to the Iraq Support Unit in Amman, Jordan. The evacuation, however, will reportedly only be temporary with a majority of workers remaining at the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, the New York Times reported on Sunday.
“These U.S. military personnel are entering Iraq with the consent of the Government of Iraq,” the White House said, according to the Washington Times. “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.”
According to Business Insider, the president wrote the purpose of sending personnel was to protect U.S. citizens and property and said they were “equipped for combat." He continued: “This force will remain in Iraq until the security situation becomes such that it is no longer needed."
It’s unclear if Obama’s stance on Iraq has changed and if he plans to send more personnel to the embattled country. His full letter can be viewed below:
Follow me on Twitter @mariamzzarella