Baghdad (AsiaNews/Agencies) - President President Barack Obama says US will send "military advisers" in Iraq to help local government led by Shia Prime Minister Nour al-Maliki to fight Sunni Islamist insurgents led by ISIS, the al-Qaeda-linked Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant group. Recently ISIS has captured large portions of land in the north and west of the country and now is pointing towards Baghdad. Mr Obama said the "American forces will not be returning to combat in Iraq but we will help Iraqis as they take the fight to terrorists''.
Washington will send 300 military advisers to Iraq to cooperate in "targeted and precise military action, if and when" required, but added that US troops would not fight in Iraq. He insisted there was "no military solution". In the meantime he urged the Shia-led Iraqi government to be "inclusive".
Drawn from America's special forces, the military advisers will set up joint command centres with the Iraqi military in Baghdad and in the north. But they will also go out into the field. Senior administration officials have said that they are not at the stage of preparing air strikes, adding that they will be discreet and targeted if they come.
US Secretary of State Kerry is expected to travel to Iraq soon to press for a more representative cabinet. Iraq has asked the US for air strikes against the Sunni militants - spearheaded by the jihadist Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) - who have made major territorial gains in the past 10 days. Washington appears increasingly unhappy with Baghdad, especially at the prospect of a breakup into three parts (Shia, Sunni and Kurdish), as Kurdish leaders warned.
Since ISIS launched its offensive, hundreds of people have been killed, many (apparently) in mass executions by Sunni militiamen.