Obama: No Iraq solution without unity

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President Obama says Iraq’s leaders must rise above the nation’s sectarian differences, otherwise he said “there’s not going to be a military solution to this problem.”

In an interview that will air Monday on CNN’s “New Day,” Obama explained that Sunnis, Shias and Kurds have to find a political solution if they want U.S. guidance.

“Part of the task now is to see if Iraqi leaders are prepared to rise above sectarian motivations, come together, compromise,” Obama said in an excerpt released Saturday. “If they can’t, there’s not going to be a military solution to this problem. There’s no amount of American firepower that’s going to hold the country together.”

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The president said Sunnis have been suspicious for quite some time as to why they had no access to Iraq’s political process. Shiite Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has largely shut out Sunnis from the government. 

“That is in part the reason why a better armed and larger number of Iraqi security forces started melting away when the extremist group [Islamic State in Iraq and Syria] ISIS started rolling through western Iraq,” Obama said.

Obama said he dispatched 300 military advisers to Iraq this week to assist Iraqi Security Forces to evaluate whether they have a functioning chain of command. 

“If we don’t see Sunni, Shia and Kurd representation in the military command structure, if we don’t see Sunni, Shia and Kurd political support for what we’re doing, then we won’t do it,” he added. 

Iraq doesn’t have much time to resolve the crisis and unify the groups, Obama said. He said the “good news” is all parties abide by the nation’s Constitution, but reiterated the U.S. can’t redeploy tens of thousands of U.S. troops.  

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