Jets, explosions reported near Islamic State lines as Kurds beg for U.S. help
By Mitchell Prothero
McClatchy Foreign Staff
Aug. 7, 2014
But there were no specifics about military steps to counter the Islamists’ move toward Irbil. At the White House, spokesman Josh Earnest stuck closely to the administration’s months-old position that Iraq’s problems must be solved politically.
“There are no military solutions to the problems of Iraq,” he told reporters. He said the United States would move to protect American personnel but that American military action “would have to be closely tied to Iraqi political reforms.”
A sense of dread fell over the Kurdish capital as the magnitude of the threat became clear.
Western oil companies based in Irbil shut down operations and restricted their employees’ movements out of concerns for safety, while makeshift shelters popped up in public parks and churches in the Ain Kawa neighborhood to accommodate hundreds of people who’d fled the newly occupied towns. There was a noticeable increase in the presence of the Kurdish peshmerga militia in the city, and there were reports that hundreds of residents flooded the airport in hopes of buying tickets to elsewhere.