The United States Defense Department has confirmed that it has received reports from U.S. teams sent to Iraq to examine the military and security situation there. But a department spokesman said that it could take some time before any decision is made about what to do next.
On June 19th, President Obama announced that the U.S. was sending 300 military advisors to Iraq. He said they would support the Iraqi government in its fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, or ISIL.
Information in the reports was leaked to the New York Times. It published stories about the reports. The Timessaid the reports warn that many Sunni and Shi’ite extremists have infiltrated Iraqi forces. The newspaper said the reports warned that U.S. military advisors attached to Iraqi army groups could face risks to their safety.
In his speech last month, President Obama also made an appeal to Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and other Iraqi leaders. He urged them to rise above religious differences and make the government more inclusive.
Since then, the Iraqi parliament has tried three times to elect a new speaker.
On Tuesday, June 15th, the parliament elected Sunni politician Selim al-Jabouri as the new speaker, although there were several attempts to prevent the vote. The conflict over who will be the prime minister continues.
Mr. Maliki hopes to serve a third term. But he faces strong opposition from Sunni lawmakers and from Kurdish and other Shi’ite members of Parliament.