President Obama Considers Special Forces to Help in Iraq - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe News Weather, Video -

President Obama Considers Special Forces to Help in Iraq

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Three U.S. officials say the White House is considering sending a small number of American special forces soldiers to Iraq in an urgent attempt to help Baghdad slow the nation's rampant Sunni insurgency.
 
President Barack Obama has explicitly ruled out deploying U.S. troops to Iraq for combat. But the plan suggests he is willing to put Americans into a collapsing security situation for training.
 
The U.S. officials said only up to about 100 special forces soldiers would deploy to advise Iraqi troops that are battling the al-Qaida-inspired Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. The insurgency represents the worst threat to the Shiite-led government since the American military left in 2011.
 
The U.S. officials spoke Monday on condition of anonymity because they weren't authorized to discuss the plans by name.
 
Also according to Secretary of State John Kerry, the Obama administration isn't ruling out the possibility of military cooperation with Iran in stopping the advance of Sunni extremists in Iraq.
 
Kerry also said in an interview with Yahoo! News that U.S. drone strikes "may well" be an option.
 
U.S. officials said earlier there is a possibility that a senior American diplomat may discuss Iraq with an Iranian delegation at nuclear talks in Vienna.

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has ordered the amphibious transport dock ship USS Mesa Verde into the Persian Gulf as concern grows over a militant group's advancement toward Iraq's capital.
 
Pentagon spokesman Rear Adm. John Kirby says the Mesa Verde has already moved into the Gulf, joining the aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush and other U.S. naval ships.
 
Kirby says the ships' presence will give President Barack Obama "additional options to protect American citizens and interests in Iraq."
 
The Pentagon says the Mesa Verde carries Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft that can be used for crisis response.
 
The State Department is reinforcing security at the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad and evacuating some personnel. The militant Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, or ISIL, has taken over several cities in northern Iraq.

Local Iraqi officials say heavily-armed Sunni militants flying black jihadist banners are roaming the streets of Tal Afar.
 
The town of 200,000 fell today to fighters from the al-Qaida splinter group Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. The extremists have already captured chunks of northern Iraq and killed hundreds of Shiites in captured areas.  (AP)

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