With violence threatening the stability of Iraq, President Obama on Monday ordered another 200 U.S. troops to Baghdad to guard the U.S. Embassy.
The announcement comes on the heels of Mr. Obama’s move earlier this month to dispatch 275 troops to protect the American embassy, and his decision to send 300 military personnel to serve as advisers to the Iraqi army.
“This force is deploying for the purpose of protecting U.S. citizens and property, if necessary, and is equipped for combat,” the president said in a letter to congressional leaders. “This force will remain in Iraq until the security situation becomes such that it is no longer needed. “
Mr. Obama added that his action is “consistent with my responsibility to protect U.S. citizens both at home and abroad.”
The White House maintains that U.S. forces will not re-enter combat in Iraq, even as the jihadist group the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant continues to wreak havoc across the country.
Pentagon spokesman Rear Adm. John Kirby said Monday that the new troops were being dispatched along with a detachment of helicopters and drones.
Some of those security forces were sent specifically to fly Army drones over travel routes between the U.S. Embassy and Baghdad International Airport, according to a senior Pentagon official.