WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama is proposing a broader long-term strategy to confront Islamic militants in Iraq, who have surprised U.S. intelligence with the fast pace of their approach on the Kurdish capital of Irbil.
Obama says the new campaign to bring security in Iraq requires military and political changes and "is going to be a long-term project."
The president says Iraqi security forces need to revamp to effectively mount an offensive, which requires a government in Baghdad that the Iraqi military and people have confidence in.
Meanwhile, Obama says he won't close the U.S. Embassy or the consulate in Irbil, which means American troops and diplomats will remain on the ground and will need protecting.
Iraq's foreign minister says U.S. airstrikes are helping Kurdish forces counter the advance of the Islamic State militants.
Obama says humanitarian efforts will also 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.