- The Washington Times - Friday, June 20, 2014

President Obama hopes Iraq’s Shia-led government can find a way to be more inclusive of its Sunni minority, but if it can’t come to a reconciliation with its multiple factions, then he says no amount of U.S. military assistance will help.

“We gave Iraq the chance to have an inclusive democracy,” Mr. Obama said in an interview with CNN on Friday. The message for Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki also comes shortly after the Shiite leader was chided by Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani in the holy city of Najaf, south of Baghdad.

Mr. Obama’s comments come as 300 military advisers make their way to Iraq to assist with the task of dismantling the the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. The al-Qaeda-inspired group has led an offensive that has captured large swathes of the country, including Mosul, the nation’s second-largest city.

On Thursday, the president said that American combat troops “are not going to be fighting in Iraq again. … We do not have the ability to simply solve this problem by sending in tens of thousands of troops and committing the kinds of blood and treasure that has already been expended in Iraq.”

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