When President Obama finally turned up to his press conference on Iraq and the situation in Missouri, he made quite clear that he does not intend to increase US involvement in the country.
He said Americans could feel ‘proud’ of the campaign that their country had led, pointing to the discovery that there were far fewer Yazidis trapped on the mountain than previously thought. The President added that he did ‘not expect there to be an additional operation to evacuate people’ from the mountain, and that the majority of military personnel who assessed the situation will be leaving Iraq in the coming days.
He did add that the situation remains ‘dire’ for religious minorities in the country, and that the US would provide assistance where it could. It will continue air strikes against ISIS and that Iraqi and Kurdish forces will also receive US military assistance. The Number 10 read-out of today’s COBR meeting said that ‘we will continue to monitor this situation closely with our US partners and Kurdish forces’ and that ‘we will also maintain our Chinook helicopters in the region so we have the flexibility to help the most vulnerable if the need arises, and our Tornados will also stay out there in case we require further surveillance of the area’. But those who believe that further military action is needed now to alleviate the suffering of other religious minorities such as Christians who are being cut in half by ISIS militants will not get the impression of a mounting sense in Washington (well, Martha’s Vineyard, where the President is currently on holiday) or Westminster that more needs to be done for Iraq.