Obama orders more troops to Iraq

President Obama has ordered 405 additional U.S. troops to Iraq on Tuesday, bringing the total of U.S. forces authorized there to more than 1,000, the White House announced Tuesday. 

The forces would provide security to the Baghdad Embassy Compound, and its support facilities. 

ADVERTISEMENT
"The President has made clear his commitment to doing whatever is required to provide the necessary security for U.S. personnel and facilities around the world," according to a statement by White House press secretary Josh Ernest.

Since mid-June, the Obama administration has authorized 775 U.S. troops to deploy to Iraq, after Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) terrorists took over Mosul, and threatened to advance towards Baghdad. 

Tuesday's order would bring the total U.S. troop number up to at least 1,125, which does not count the approximately 100 based at the embassy's Office of Security Cooperation in Iraq. 

The State Department had issued the request for more forces late last month, and the president approved the request based on the Pentagon's recommendation after "an extensive interagency review," according to the statement.

"These additional forces will not serve in a combat role," Earnest said.  

"The additional joint forces will come from within the U.S. Central Command area of operations and will include a headquarters element, medical personnel, associated helicopters, and an air liaison team," Pentagon press secretary Rear Adm. John Kirby said in a statement. 

In total, 405 U.S. military personnel will be sent to Baghdad to "provide a more robust and sustainable security presence to help the Department of State continue their critical mission," Kirby said. 

The president's request will also allow some previously deployed personnel to depart Iraq, while at the same time providing a "more robust, sustainable security force for our personnel and facilities in Baghdad, Earnest said. 

Fifty-five troops who have been in Baghdad would redeploy outside of Iraq, and remain in the region ready to deal with other security contingencies if necessary, bringing the net increase to 350, Kirby said. 

The White House also said it would continue to support Iraq's efforts to counter the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, which it said "poses a threat not only to Iraq, but to the broader Middle East and U.S. personnel and interests in the region."  

The statement comes hours after ISIS published another video on Tuesday showing the group had beheaded another American journalist, freelancer Steven Joel Sotloff.

"The President will be consulting this week with NATO allies regarding additional actions to take against ISIL and to develop a broad-based international coalition to implement a comprehensive strategy to protect our people and to support our partners in the fight against ISIL," Earnest said, referring to ISIS's alternate name of Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. 

"As part of this effort, Secretary Kerry, Secretary Hagel, and President Obama’s counterterrorism advisor, Lisa Monaco, will be traveling separately to the region in the near-term to build a stronger regional partnership," he said.