President Barack Obama says he's sending about 200 more US troops to Iraq to protect Americans and the US Embassy in Baghdad. The announcement will bring to nearly 800 the total number of US forces in and around Iraq to train local forces, secure the embassy, and protect American interests. Obama notified House and Senate leaders in a letter today. Obama says the additions include security forces, rotary-wing aircraft, and support for intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance.
Obama has ruled out sending combat troops back into Iraq. But he says the additional troops will be equipped for combat. He says their purpose is to protect US citizens and property if needed. Obama says the troops will stay in Iraq until security improves so that the reinforcements are no longer needed. (See why Rachel Maddow thinks Obama needs congressional approval for further military action in Iraq.)