In a letter to Congress on Monday evening, President Barack Obama said 275 U.S. military personnel are headed to Iraq to provide support and security for U.S. personnel and the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad after ISIS insurgents seized control of small towns in Northern Iraq between Baghdad and the Syrian border, including the northwest city of Tal Afar.
A White House spokesperson said earlier on Monday that President Obama explicitly ruled out putting U.S. troops into direct combat in Iraq, and the plan under consideration suggests he would be willing to send Americans into a collapsing security situation for training and other purposes The White House said it is considering launching air strikes and increased surveillance over insurgent bastions to thwart ISIS’s march toward Baghdad after capturing the Sunni-dominated cities of Fallujah, Mosul and Tikrit.
President Barack Obama announced the decision to send troops in a letter on Monday addressed to U.S. Speaker of the House John Boehner and President Pro Tempore of the Senate Patrick Leahy notifying them of the deployment as required by the War Powers Resolution.
"Starting on June 15, 2014, up to approximately 275 U.S. Armed Forces personnel are deploying to Iraq to provide support and security for U.S. personnel and the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad," wrote Obama. "This force is deploying for the purpose of protecting U.S. citizens and property, if necessary, and is equipped for combat. This force will remain in Iraq until the security situation becomes such that it is no longer needed."
Earlier on Monday, both British and U.S.officials said meetings with Iran could come this week on the sidelines of international nuclear talks. A cooperative effort between the United States and Iran to support their mutual ally in Baghdad would be unprecedented since Shi'ite Iran's 1979 revolution, a sign of the alarm raised by the ISIS insurgency.