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President Obama has notified Congress that, under the War Powers Act, 275 military personnel will be deployed to Iraq "to provide support and security" for U.S. personnel and embassy in Baghdad. In a press statement White House Press Secretary Jay Carney elaborated on the mission.
The personnel will provide assistance to the Department of State in connection with the temporary relocation of some staff from the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad to the U.S. Consulates General in Basra and Erbil and to the Iraq Support Unit in Amman. These U.S. military personnel are entering Iraq with the consent of the Government of Iraq. The U.S. Embassy in Baghdad remains open, and a substantial majority of the U.S. Embassy presence in Iraq will remain in place and the embassy will be fully equipped to carry out its national security mission.
In his letter to Congress, President Obama wrote that the action "has been directed consistent with my responsibility to protect U.S. citizen both at home and abroad, and in furtherance of U.S. national security and foreign policy interests...." Meanwhile, NSC spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden reiterated that Obama "was very clear that we will not be sending U.S. troops back into combat in Iraq."
"That remains the case and he has asked his national security team to prepare a range of other options that could help support Iraqi security forces. As you know, already over the past year we have been steadily increasing our security assistance to the Iraqi government, including training inside Iraq by the U.S. Embassy's Office of Security Cooperation and in Jordan; equipment; and intelligence."