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FULL TEXT: President Obama’s statement on airstrikes in Iraq

President Barack Obama's statement Thursday night on authorizing U.S. airstrikes against Islamic militants in Iraq and airdrops of humanitarian aid for Iraqi religious minorities threatened by the extremists, as provided by the White House:

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Fighters from the al-Qaida linked Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) marching in Raqqa, Syria. (AP Photo/Militant Website, File)
Fighters from the al-Qaida linked Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) marching in Raqqa, Syria. (AP Photo/Militant Website, File)
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Syrian rebels buckling in face of jihadis

BEIRUT (AP) -- The Syrian rebels that the U.S. now wants to support are in poor shape, on the retreat from the radical al-Qaida breakaway group that has swept over large parts of Iraq and Syria, with some rebels giving up the fight. It is not clear whether the new U.S. promise to arm them will make a difference.

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People watch an address by Iraq's Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki on television at a cafe in Baghdad's Karrada neighborhood, Wednesday, June 25, 2014.  (AP Photo/Karim Kadim)
People watch an address by Iraq's Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki on television at a cafe in Baghdad's Karrada neighborhood, Wednesday, June 25, 2014. (AP Photo/Karim Kadim)
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Iraqi PM rejects calls to form unity government

BAGHDAD (AP) -- A defiant Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki rejected calls Wednesday for an interim "national salvation government" intended to undermine the Sunni insurgency by presenting a unified front among Iraq's three main groups, calling it a "coup against the constitution."

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Iraqi worker operates valves at the Nahran Omar oil refinery in Zubair near the city of Basra, 340 miles (550 kilometers) southeast of Baghdad, Iraq in 2009. (AP Photo/Nabil al-Jurani, File)
Iraqi worker operates valves at the Nahran Omar oil refinery in Zubair near the city of Basra, 340 miles (550 kilometers) southeast of Baghdad, Iraq in 2009. (AP Photo/Nabil al-Jurani, File)
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Iraq upheaval threatens oil development plans

BAGHDAD (AP) -- The turmoil in Iraq has thrown the OPEC member's ambitious plans to boost oil production into doubt, threatening to crimp its most vital economic lifeline.

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Iraqis living in Iran hold a demonstration against Sunni militants of the al-Qaida-inspired Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant Friday, June 20, 2014. (AP Photo/Ebrahim Noroozi)
Iraqis living in Iran hold a demonstration against Sunni militants of the al-Qaida-inspired Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant Friday, June 20, 2014. (AP Photo/Ebrahim Noroozi)
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US, Iran, longtime enemies, now potential partners

WASHINGTON (AP) -- It's the fog of diplomacy.

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An Iraqi Shiite Turkmen gunman holds his RPG  as he stands in front of a portrait of Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, right, at the front line village of Taza Khormato, in the northern oil rich province of Kirkuk, Iraq, Friday June 20, 2014. (AP Photo/Hussein Malla)
An Iraqi Shiite Turkmen gunman holds his RPG as he stands in front of a portrait of Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, right, at the front line village of Taza Khormato, in the northern oil rich province of Kirkuk, Iraq, Friday June 20, 2014. (AP Photo/Hussein Malla)
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A guide to fast-moving events in Iraq

BAGHDAD (AP) -- The crisis in Iraq is increasingly taking on a political tone as calls are growing for Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki to step down. The Shiite leader, who faces criticism that his failure to promote reconciliation among the country's myriad religious sects sparked the widespread Sunni anger that has emboldened the al-Qaida breakaway group that has overtaken large sections of northern territories.

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U.S. troops
U.S. Army Lieutenant Patrick Mulvaney arrives at Fort Hood, Texas after being part of one of the last American combat units to exit from Iraq in December 2011. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
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US seeks legal protection for troops going to Iraq

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Pentagon expects Iraq to agree in writing to legal protections for the military advisory teams that President Barack Obama is sending as part of an effort to stiffen Iraqi defenses against insurgents, a spokesman said Friday.

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President Barack Obama speaks about the situation in Iraq, Thursday, June 19, 2014, at  the White House in Washington. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
President Barack Obama speaks about the situation in Iraq, Thursday, June 19, 2014, at the White House in Washington. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
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Obama: US sending only military advisors to Iraq

In the strongest sign yet of U.S. doubts about Iraq's stability, the Obama administration is weighing whether to press the Shiite prime minister in Baghdad to step down in a last-ditch effort to prevent disgruntled Sunnis from igniting a full-scale civil war.

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President Barack Obama meets with, from left, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Ky., House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of Calif., and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nev.,  (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
President Barack Obama meets with, from left, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Ky., House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of Calif., and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nev., (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
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What to do in Iraq? Obama consults Congress

WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Barack Obama briefed leaders of Congress on options for quelling an al-Qaida-inspired insurgency in Iraq as Republicans lawmakers and administration officials clashed Wednesday over who is to blame for the militants' lightning gains.

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U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
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Kerry: US Open to Talks with Iran over Iraq

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Secretary of State John Kerry says the Obama administration is willing to talk with Iran over deteriorating security conditions in Iraq and is not ruling out potential U.S.-Iranian military cooperation in stemming the advance of Sunni extremists. Kerry also says U.S. drone strikes "may well" be an option.

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