U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel ordered the USS George H.W. Bush to the Persian Gulf on Saturday in case Washington decides to pursue a military option as Iraqi insurgents tighten their grip on the country.
The Pentagon said in a statement: "The order will provide the commander-in-chief additional flexibility should military options be required to protect American lives, citizens and interests in Iraq."
U.S. President Barack Obama said Friday, however, that American troops will not be sent back into combat in Iraq, adding that American military aid will not solve the sectarian differences that have disturbed the region.
"Any action that we may take to provide assistance to Iraqi security forces has to be joined by a serious and sincere effort by Iraq's leaders to set aside sectarian differences, to promote stability, and account for the legitimate interests of all of Iraq's communities and to continue to build the capacity of an effective security force."
The order came after militants of the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, or ISIL, took over Mosul, the second largest city in Iraq, on Tuesday after seizing other key cities in the country.
The group is working to establish an Islamist state that spans Iraq and Syria.
In Seoul, the Korean government convened an emergency meeting Sunday to discuss the unfolding developments in Iraq.
Topping the agenda was the possible negative effect on the Korean economy and the potential danger to Korean companies doing business in Iraq.
Shin Se-min, Arirang News.
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