Just a few days after President Obama said the U.S. would not be sending troops back into combat in Iraq, the president announced that we would be sending them back for other reasons. Some 275 Army troops have been freshly deployed "to provide support and security for U.S. personnel and the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad," Obama announced late Monday.
The president's statement came amid continued violence from Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) militants in the area. On Monday, ISIS seized the northwestern Iraqi city of Tal Afar. On Tuesday morning, ISIS fighters clashed with Iraqi government forces just north of Baghdad, in the city of Baquba.
A senior White House official stressed to ABC News that the U.S. troops headed to Iraq "would not be combat troops," merely "additional advisors." But not everyone is so keen on the distinction.
"The White House may say that special operations 'advisors' is different than sending 'combat troops'," wrote ABC's Jonathan Karl, "but they would be advising Iraqi forces in Iraq—something more than just training—and it is hard to make the case they would not be in harm's way."
In a War Powers Resolution letter sent to Congress on Monday, Obama noted that the U.S. forces deployed to Iraq were equipped for combat. "This force will remain in Iraq until the security situation becomes such that it is no longer needed," he wrote.
Meanwhile, a U.N. commission is warning that the entire Middle East is on the brink of war. In a Tuesday report to the U.N. Human Rights Council, the commission stated that "a regional war in the Middle East draws ever closer" as ISIS advances across Iraq to areas bridging the Iraq-Syria frontier. The commission warned that Iraq's current turmoil will have "violent repercussions" in Syria as well.