President Obama welcomed new leadership in Iraq as "a promising step forward" today amid a political and security crisis in Baghdad, saying the only lasting solution is the formation of an inclusive government. Obama did not mention Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki but clearly was addressing the embattled incumbent as he called for Iraqi political leaders to work peacefully through a political transition. "These have been difficult days in Iraq," Obama said outside his rented vacation home on Martha's Vineyard. "I'm sure there are going to be difficult days ahead."
Obama's remarks came as the US conducted more airstrikes against the advance of Islamic State militants in northern Iraq. Amid the security threat loomed a potential political crisis, new Iraqi President Fouad Massoum selected the deputy parliament speaker, Haider al-Ibadi, as al-Maliki's replacement. The US is backing the new leadership. Obama said he and Joe Biden called al-Ibadi today to urge him to form a new cabinet as soon as possible. "The only lasting solution is for Iraqis to come together and form an inclusive government," Obama said in brief remarks to reporters. Click for more.