President Obama declared his support for Iraq's newly nominated prime minister, Dr. Haider Al-Abadi, amid growing political tensions in Baghdad, calling the move a "promising step forward" in the formation of a new government and stressing the limits of American intervention.
Obama said U.S. forces "have successfully conducted targeted airstrikes to prevent terrorist forces from advancing on the city of Erbil," but he emphasized the need for Iraq to solve its own problems through the political process.
"As I said when I authorized these operations, there is no American military solution to the larger crisis in Iraq," he said in a Monday speech from Martha's Vineyard, where he is currently on vacation. "The only lasting solution is for Iraqis to come together and form an inclusive government -- one that represents the legitimate interests of all Iraqis, and one that can unify the country's fight against ISIL."
Obama said that he welcomed Iraqi President Fuad Masum's nomination of Dr. Al-Abadi as prime minister as the next step toward forming a new government, adding that he and Vice-President Joe Biden called to congratulate him. He made no mention, however, of the current Prime Minister, Nuri Kamal al-Maliki, who is currently resisting the transition.
"Just as the United States will remain vigilant against the threat posed to our people by ISIL, we stand ready to partner with Iraq in its fight against these terrorist forces," Obama concluded. "Without question, that effort will be advanced in Iraqis continue to build on today's process and come together to support a new and inclusive government."