WASHINGTON: President Barack Obama is considering ordering US air strikes against Sunni extremists in northern Iraq and humanitarian food drops to beleaguered civilians, reports said yesterday.
US media, citing senior White House officials, said Obama was weighing military options after jihadists from the so-called “Islamic State” attacked Christian and Yazidi minority communities.
“There could be a humanitarian catastrophe there,” an official told the New York Times, warning that a decision on military action was expected “imminently — this could be a fast-moving train.” Obama came to office determined to end US military involvement in Iraq and in his first term oversaw the withdrawal of the huge ground force deployed there since the 2003 American invasion.
But recent rapid gains by the Islamic State, a successor group to Al Qaeda’s former Iraqi and Syrian operations, compelled him to send military advisors back to Baghdad evaluate the situation. The UN Security Council was to hold emergency talks on the crisis later yesterday, and France has pledged support for forces “engaged in battle” against the IS radicals.