As widespread unrest and civil war takes hold inside Iraq, President Barack Obama has told the U.S Congress he is sending combat-ready troops back into the country.
In remarks on Friday, Obama told the American people he would “not be sending U.S. troops back into combat in Iraq.”
Despite those assurances, the Associated Press reports that “nearly 300 armed American forces are being positioned in and around Iraq” as part of the president’s military response to the deteriorating situation inside the country.
According to the Guardian:
Barack Obama discussed the crisis with his top national security advisers on Monday night after earlier telling Congress that up to 275 troops could be sent to Iraq to provide support and security for personnel and the US Embassy in Baghdad.
While Obama has vowed to keep US forces out of combat in Iraq, he said in his notification to Congress that the personnel moving into the region are equipped for direct fighting.
Around 170 of those forces have already arrived and another 100 soldiers will be on standby in a nearby country such as Kuwait until they are needed. In addition, officials told Reuters that the White House was considering sending a contingent of special forces to train and advise beleaguered Iraqi troops, many of whom have fled their posts in the face of the insurgency.
The news of combat troops comes after Secretary of State John Kerry indicated possibly plans for U.S. drones or other airstrikes inside the country.
In addition, the aircraft carrier George H.W. Bush and five other warships were moved into the Persian Gulf over the weekend and more than than 500 Marines and dozens of transport and attack helicopters remain on standby.
This article originally appeared in Common Dreams.