Despite the White House seeming reluctance to see airstrikes as an imminent option (as AP reports, in part because there are few clear targets that U.S. could hit, officials said), Arabiya TV - citing Iraq's Foreign Minister Zarabi, has asked for help (seemingly triggered by ISIS attacks on the Baiji refinery):
- *IRAQ ASKED U.S. FOR AIRSTRIKES AGAINST MILITANTS: ARABIYA
- *IRAQ ASKED US TO GO AHEAD W/ AIR STRIKES AGAINST JIHADISTS: AFP
This has now been confirmed by the BBC reporting that Gen. Martin Dempsey confirms the request. So 275 boots on the ground are not boots on the ground and now the US will reluctantly but pin-pointedly accurately bomb the bad guys (and some good guys) in Iraq... how has that ended in the past?
Iraq has formally called on the United States to launch air strikes against jihadist militants who have seized several key cities.
"We have a request from the Iraqi government for air power," confirmed top US military commander Gen Martin Dempsey.
The announcement came after insurgents launched an attack on Iraq's biggest oil refinery north of Baghdad.
As AP reported yesterday,
President Barack Obama has shifted his focus away from airstrikes in Iraq as an imminent option for slowing a fast-moving Islamic insurgency, in part because there are few clear targets that U.S. could hit, officials said.
Officials said Obama has made no final decisions and could ultimately approve limited strikes if stronger targets emerge. The CIA and other spy agencies are scrambling to close intelligence gaps in the region and track the movements of key figures in the militant group known as the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, which seized Mosul, Tikrit and other towns in Iraq as the country's military melted away.
"It's time for the Iraqis to resolve it themselves," said Reid
As WaPo adds, the Pentagon's top leaders testified Wednesday that a U.S. campaign of airstrikes in Iraq would be fraught with complications, both political and military, and suggested that a rush to take such action could backfire.
Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said the Iraqi government has requested that Washington provide "air power" as it tries to take back territory seized in recent weeks by fighters from the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and other insurgents.
Dempsey told a panel from the Senate Appropriations Committee that the Obama administration was still weighing how to respond. But he emphasized that airstrikes would be extremely complicated. "It's not as easy as looking at an iPhone video of a convoy and then immediately striking," he said.
"There is very little that — that could have been done to overcome the degree to which the government of Iraq had failed its people. That's what has caused this problem," Dempsey said. "This has not broken down entirely on sectarian lines, but it could."