Obama Excludes Ground Troops as Jihadis Near Baghdad

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With fighters from the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) closing in on Iraq's capital city of Baghdad, President Barack Obama is weighing options on how to counter the insurgency.

He made it clear, however, that the Iraq government must take constructive steps to address the nation's political problems before there would be any U.S. military intervention. Such involvement, administration officials say, would exclude any boots on the ground.

"We're not going to allow ourselves to be dragged back into a situation in which, while we're there we're keeping a lid on things, and after enormous sacrifices by us, after we're not there, people start acting in ways that are not conducive to the long-term stability and prosperity of the country," Obama said from the South Lawn of the White House.

What's the latest from Christians on the ground in Mosul? Juliana Taimoorazy, executive director of the Iraqi Christian Relief Council, answers this and more on Christian World News, June 13.

Obama's announcement comes as the Iraqi government is urging citizens to take up arms and defend the country.
 
Hours after seizing the ancient biblical city of Nineveh, Islamic insurgents released a chilling two-page document ordering all residents, many of whom are Christians, to comply with the Islamic Sharia rules.

Among them are the following:

 •Women should dress decently.
 •No drugs or alcohol are allowed.
 •Anyone found stealing will have their hands chopped off.
 
Juliana Taimoorazy, founder and president of the Iraqi Christian Relief Council, described the group's actions as "ethnic cleansing."
 
"The Christians of Iraq are the Assyrians of Iraq, are the Chaldeans of Iraq and we are being ethnically cleansed in the northern part of Iraq," Juliana Taimoorazy, founder and president of the Iraqi Christian Relief Council, said.

Jihadists are capturing towns with little resistance. ISIS fighters posted a video on YouTube showing thousands of Iraqi soldiers and police in Tikrit with their hands behind heads.

The Iraqi government, meanwhile, said it's ready to fight back.
 
"We must surround the al Qaeda-affiliated ISIS and wipe them out of the place they occupied," Iraqi Shia representative Ali al-Shelah said.
 
Overnight insurgents, some of whom feel alienated by Iraq's Shiite-led government, gained more territory in their push toward Baghdad.
 
"You can't have a military fix for this sort of problem," said Michael E. O'Hanlon, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institute. "It's fundamentally a political problem.
 
"It's driven by the fact that Sunnis in particular feel totally cut off and disenfranchised to the point where many Sunnis, including some very secular groups, are cooperating now with these al Qaeda affiliates," he explained.
 
House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, Obama's policies in Iraq for jeopardizing the progress the U.S. made in years of fighting.
 
"It's not like we haven't seen over the last five or six months these terrorists moving in, taking control of western Iraq," he said. "Now they have taken control of Mosul. They're 100 miles from Baghdad. And what's the president doing? Taking a nap."
 
What's the latest from Christians on the ground in Mosul? Juliana Taimoorazy, executive director of the Iraqi Christian Relief Council, answers this and more on Christian World News, June 13.
 
The White House shot back, saying it is looking into all options, including military strikes, to help Iraqi leaders.
 
"My team is working around the clock to identify how we can provide the most effective assistance to them," the president said.
 
As Sunni jihadists set their sights on Baghdad, Iraq's neighbor Iran is reportedly sending Shia forces to quell the uprising.
 
Meanwhile, Iraq's Kurds are also joining the fray, moving quickly to seize the strategic-oil rich town of Kirkuk -- all of which has analysts talking about the potential breakup of Iraq along religious and sectarian lines.

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