Tags: Barack Obama | Iraq | Iraq in Crisis | US | Obama | Iraq

Obama: Airstrikes Have Destroyed Arms, Equipment

By Newsmax Wires   |   Saturday, 09 Aug 2014 10:48 AM

President Barack Obama says U.S. airstrikes in Iraq succeeded in destroying arms and equipment that fast-moving Islamic State militants could have been used against the Kurdish capital of Erbil.

In remarks on Saturday morning, he said humanitarian efforts continue to airdrop food and water to persecuted religious minorities stranded on a mountaintop, and he says planning is underway for how to get them down.

Obama insisted that the U.S. will not send combat troops.

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"We are going to maintain that because we should have learned a lesson from our long and immensely costly incursion into Iraq," Obama said.

He would not give a timetable for how long the U.S. military involvement would last, and warned that military and political changes are necessary to bring security to Iraq, calling it "a long-term project."

"I don't think we are going to solve this problem in weeks," Obama said. "I think this is going to take some time."

And he emphasized that the most important part of any timetable is when Iraqis can come together to form a unified government.

He also said France and Britain have agreed to support U.S. humanitarian efforts to help the  tens of thousands of civilians besieged on a mountain in Iraq.

"Both leaders expressed strong support for actions and agreed to join us in providing humanitarian assistance to Iraqis suffering so much," Obama said in his remarks after speaking by telephone with British Prime Minister David Cameron and French President Francois Hollande.

Obama also says the advance of the Islamic State forces was more rapid than anticipated.

There are no plans to close the U.S. Embassy or the Erbil consulate, he said, so American troops and diplomats will remain in Iraq.

Obama made his comments on the South Lawn of the White House Saturday, just before boarding Marine One for his summer vacation in Massachusetts.

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