The Washington Post

Obama to deploy up to 275 military personnel in Iraq

President Barack Obama tells Congress the U.S. is deploying up to 275 military personnel to Iraq as support and security for U.S. interests, as militants seize control of the north of the country. (Reuters)

President Obama is sending up to 275 military personnel to Iraq for security and support, the White House said Monday.

Obama notified Congress in a letter Monday that the force will be equipped for combat and will remain in Iraq  "until the security situation becomes such that it is no longer needed."

The forces will provide support and security for U.S. personnel and the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad. It will help relocate some embassy staff  to consulates in Basra and Irbil and the Iraq Support Unit in Amman, Jordan.

"This action has been directed consistent with my responsibility to protect U.S. citizens both at home and abroad, and in furtherance of U.S. national security and foreign policy interests, pursuant to my constitutional authority to conduct U.S. foreign relations and as Commander in Chief and Chief Executive," Obama wrote. 

President Obama speaks about the situation in Iraq from the South Lawn of the White House in Washington June 13, 2014. Obama said on Friday he will take several days to review options for how the United States can help Iraq deal with a militant insurgency, saying any action would need significant involvement by Iraq itself. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

The State Department announced Sunday that it is reducing the number of staff at the embassy in Baghdad. It is the first time since 2003 that staff has been drawn down because of violence. Officials said a large number of personnel will stay and the embassy will remain open. The State Department also said Sunday that it plans to increase the number of security personnel at the already heavily fortified embassy. 

The White House said the Iraqi government agreed to let the American military into the country.

A Pentagon spokesman, Rear Adm. John Kirby, said about 170 U.S. personnel started arriving in Baghdad this weekend. He said 100 additional forces have been moved into the region to provide airfield management security and logistics support if they are needed.

Obama, who returned from a trip to California Monday afternoon, later met with his National Security Council to discuss options on Iraq. Attendees included Vice President Biden, Secretary of State John F. Kerry, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, National Security Adviser Susan Rice, Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. and  top military officials.  Obama plans to consult with the national security team in the coming days, officials said.

Katie Zezima is a national political correspondent covering the 2016 presidential election. She previously served as a White House correspondent for The Post.



Success! Check your inbox for details. You might also like:

Please enter a valid email address

See all newsletters

Show Comments
Most Read



Success! Check your inbox for details.

See all newsletters

Your Three. Videos curated for you.
Play Videos
Sleep advice you won't find in baby books
In defense of dads
Scenes from Brazil's Carajás Railway
Play Videos
For good coffee, sniff, slurp and spit
How to keep your child safe in the water
How your online data can get hijacked
Play Videos
How to avoid harmful chemicals in school supplies
Full disclosure: 3 bedrooms, 2 baths, 1 ghoul
How much can one woman eat?
Play Videos
What you need to know about Legionnaires' disease
How to get organized for back to school
Pandas, from birth to milk to mom
Next Story
Ed O'Keefe · June 16, 2014

To keep reading, please enter your email address.

You’ll also receive from The Washington Post:
  • A free 6-week digital subscription
  • Our daily newsletter in your inbox

Please enter a valid email address

I have read and agree to the Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.

Please indicate agreement.

Thank you.

Check your inbox. We’ve sent an email explaining how to set up an account and activate your free digital subscription.