US deploying 275 troops to Iraq, considering air strikes

ISIL militants take over a base in Tikrit, Iraq.


ISIL militants take over a base in Tikrit, Iraq. (USA Today)

President Obama today notified Congress that 275 US military personnel will be deployed to Iraq to "provide support and security for U.S. personnel and the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad."

Last Friday, the president said President "we will not be sending U.S. troops back into combat in Iraq," but the "no combat" part was an important qualifier.

Mehdi Army fighters loyal to Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr march during a military-style training in the holy city of Najaf, June 16, 2014. REUTERS/Ahmad Mousa


Mehdi Army fighters loyal to Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr march during a military-style training in the holy city of Najaf, June 16, 2014. REUTERS/Ahmad Mousa

Also today, word that the administration is considering air strikes on targets in Iraq.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry called the advance an "existential threat" for Iraq. Asked if the United States could cooperate with Tehran against the insurgents, Kerry told Yahoo News: "I wouldn't rule out anything that would be constructive."

As for air strikes: "They're not the whole answer, but they may well be one of the options that are important," he said. "When you have people murdering, assassinating in these mass massacres, you have to stop that. And you do what you need to do if you need to try to stop it from the air or otherwise."

Related: Secretary of State John Kerry suggested that the US and Iran may share a growing willingness to work together to arrest the expanding Sunni insurgency in Iraq--but said there are no plans to coordinate military action with Iran.

Iraqi security forces fire artillery during clashes with Sunni militant group Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) in Jurf al-Sakhar June 14, 2014. REUTERS/Alaa Al-Marjani


Iraqi security forces fire artillery during clashes with Sunni militant group Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) in Jurf al-Sakhar June 14, 2014. REUTERS/Alaa Al-Marjani