US air strikes in Iraq successful: Obama
President Barack Obama said Saturday that the US air strikes have "successfully destroyed arms and equipment" that terrorists with Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS) could have used against the Kurdish regional capital of Irbil in Iraq.
"We feel confident" that military efforts can prevent ISIS from slaughtering people on Mount Sinjar, where ISIS has been killing many members of the Yazidi minority, CNN quoted Obama as saying in remarks at the White House.
He declined to give a timetable for US air strikes and humanitarian air drops in Iraq. "Wherever and whenever (US) personnel and facilities are threatened, it is my obligation ... to make sure they're protected."
Obama said he spoke with French President Francois Hollande and British Prime Minister David Cameron about the situation in Iraq, and that both have agreed to join the US in providing humanitarian assistance to Iraqis endangered by ISIS.
The Iraqi government and military will need to take a series of steps to improve the security situation, he said. "I don't think we're going to solve this problem in weeks. I think this is going to take some time."
Obama said there's a lesson in this situation for Afghanistan. He said if leadership wants a new government to work, then people of different factions and ethnicities have got to accommodate each other.
The president said while the US can assist Iraqi security forces in fighting ISIS with air strikes, ultimately it's up to Iraqis to secure their country. That will take an inclusive government. "All Iraqi communities need to unite to defend their country."
(Posted on 10-08-2014)