- The Washington Times - Thursday, June 19, 2014

President Obama will deliver a statement on Iraq at 12:30 p.m. Thursday after a hastily arranged meeting with his national security team.

The president, who told congressional leaders Wednesday he doesn’t need lawmakers’ authorization to take military action in Iraq, is considering a range of options including air strikes to halt the advancement of Sunni militants toward Baghdad.

Fighters loyal to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) have seized several cities in northern Iraq and have reportedly taken the country’s largest oil refinery this week.

CNN reported Thursday that the Pentagon has presented Mr. Obama with a plan to send up to 100 U.S. special operations forces to Iraq as advisers to work with the Iraqi military. Mr. Obama on Monday ordered up to 275 U.S. troops to Iraq to help with embassy security and to relocate Americans living in the country.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, California Democrat, said she is wary of sending special forces.

“You have to be careful sending special forces because it’s a number that has a tendency to grow,” she said. “In any situation under any president I would say let’s proceed cautiously in that regard.”

Mrs. Pelosi said she doesn’t think Mr. Obama needs to come back to Congress for specific approval of any action, but said the president wants to earn lawmakers’ backing. She and her House colleagues could weigh in as early as Thursday afternoon with what at this point would be non-binding votes related to Iraq as part of the debate on the annual defense spending bill.

Stephen Dinan contributed to this article.



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