The U.S. might deploy ground troops to assist an embattled minority group trapped by jihadists affiliated with ISIS in the mountains of Northern Iraq, a senior White House official said Wednesday.
According to The New York Times, Ben Rhodes, the deputy national security adviser, said President Barack Obama is set to soon receive recommendations on how to help the beleaguered Yazidi religious community, which is under attack by ISIS. These recommendations could include the use of U.S. ground troops, Rhodes said.
He drew a distinction, however, between this more limited use of combat troops — used for a humanitarian purpose — and a full-scale military operation. Obama, who campaigned for president promising a withdrawal from Iraq, has repeatedly vowed to not use troops on the ground to fight the jihadist forces.
“What he’s ruled out is reintroducing U.S. forces into combat on the ground in Iraq,” Rhodes said.
Rhodes also said this force would be “different than reintroducing U.S. forces in a combat role to take the fight to ISIL,” another name for the Islamic State. Last week, the U.S. launched a pair of military operations in Iraq including the effort to aid the Yazidis and what Obama described as an effort to protect American diplomatic personnel and military advisors in the Iraqi city of Erbil as ISIS nears the area.
The White House will not make a decision about the military deployment until an assessment team returns from Iraq “within several days,” Rhodes noted.
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.