U.S. President Barack Obama on Friday ruled out sending U.S. troops "back into combat" in Iraq despite the threat from a surging army of Islamic terrorists, ABC News reports.
Speaking as several cities in Iraq continued to fall under the flags of the Al-Qaeda-inspired Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS), Obama told reporters his National Security Council was still considering options.
“I'll be reviewing those options in the days ahead,” Obama said on the White House’s south lawn, according to ABC News. “I do want to be clear, though. This is not solely, or even primarily, a military challenge."
The president seemed to suggest that the Iraqis had squandered the "extraordinary sacrifices" made by Americans to stabilize the country.
“Unfortunately, Iraqi leaders have been unable to overcome, too often, the mistrust and sectarian differences that have long been simmering there. And that's created vulnerabilities within the Iraqi government, as well as their security forces,” he said.
Obama said, however, that besides the danger ISIS poses to Iraq "given the nature of these terrorists, it could pose a threat eventually to American interests as well."
On Thursday, Obama declared that short-term military actions will have to be taken in Iraq and said he is looking at "all options", but his spokesman later clarified the president did not intend to send ground troops to Iraq.
Obama reiterated this on Friday, saying he has asked his National Security Council for a "range of options," but adding, "We will not be sending us troops back into combat in Iraq."
"Any action that we may take to provide assistance to Iraqi security forces has to be joined by a serious and sincere effort by Iraq's leaders to set aside sectarian differences," Obama said.
(Arutz Sheva’s North American Desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)