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President Barack Obama authorized U.S. airstrikes in northern Iraq Thursday night, warning they would be launched if needed ...
to defend Americans from advancing Islamic militants and protect civilians under siege. (Aug. 7)
Tags:ap,AP News,Associated Press,Barack Obama,iraqis,United States of America
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SHOTLIST:AP TELEVISION - AP CLIENTS ONLYWashington DC - 7 August 20141. SOUNDBITE: (ENGLISH) Barack Obama / US President"Today I authorized two operations in Iraq. Targeted air strikes to protect our American personnel, and a humanitarian effort to help save thousands of Iraqi civilians who are trapped on a mountain without food and water and facing almost certain death."2. White Flash3. SOUNDBITE: (ENGLISH) Barack Obama / US President"I said in June as the terrorist group ISIL began an advance across Iraq, that the United States would be prepared to take targeted military action in Iraq if and when we determined that the situation required it. In recent days these terrorists have continued to move across Iraq and have neared the city of Erbil, where American diplomats and civilians serve at our Consulate and American military personnel advice Iraqi forces."4. White Flash5. SOUNDBITE: (ENGLISH) Barack Obama / US President"At the request of the Iraqi government, we begun operations to help save Iraqi civilians stranded on the Mount. As ISIL has marched across Iraq, it has raged a ruthless campaign against innocent Iraqis and these terrorist have been especially barbaric towards religious minorities including Christians and Yazidis, a small and ancient religious sect. Countless Iraqis have been displaced and chilling reports describe ISIL militants rounding up families, conducting mass executions and enslaving Yazidi women."6. Whilte Flash7. SOUNDBITE: (ENGLISH) Barack Obama / US President"I've said before the United States cannot and should not intervene every time there is a crisis in the world. So let me be clear about why we must act and act now. When we face a situation like we do on that mountain, with innocent people facing the prospect of violence on a horrific scale, when we have a mandate to help -- in this case a request from the Iraqi government -- and when we have the unique capabilities to help avert a massacre, then I believe the United States of America cannot turn a blind eye. We can act, carefully and responsibly, to prevent a potential act of genocide."STORYLINE:President Barack Obama announced Thursday night he had authorized the U.S. military to launch targeted airstrikes if needed to protect Americans from Islamic militants in northern Iraq, threatening to revive U.S. military involvement in the country's long sectarian war.He also said the U.S. military had carried out airdrops of humanitarian aid to Iraqi religious minorities under siege by the extremists. The announcements reflected the deepest American engagement in Iraq since U.S. troops withdrew in late 2011 after nearly a decade of war. Obama said the humanitarian airdrops were made at the request of the Iraqi government. The food and water supplies were delivered to the tens of thousands of Yazidis trapped on a mountain without food and water. The Yazidis, who follow an ancient religion with ties to Zoroastrianism, fled their homes after the Islamic State group issued an ultimatum to convert to Islam, pay a religious fine, flee their homes or face death.Obama, who has staked much of his legacy as president on ending the Iraq war, acknowledged that the prospect of a new round of U.S. military action would be a cause for concern among many Americans. He vowed anew not to put American combat troops back on the ground in Iraq and said there was no U.S. military solution to the crisis. "As commander in chief, I will not allow the United States to be drawn into fighting another war in Iraq," Obama said.