President Barack Obama is sending 275 U.S. military personnel to Iraq to help provide security to the embassy in Baghdad and U.S. personne
"This force is deploying for the purpose of protecting U.S. citizens and property, if necessary, and is equipped for combat," Obama said in a letter to lawmakers. "This force will remain in Iraq until the security situation becomes such that it is no longer needed."
Obama's notification to Congress Monday also said the move has the consent of the Iraqi government.
While the president has ruled out sending ground forces back into Iraq, he met with his national security team Monday to consider other options.
They include possible air strikes against the Sunni militants who already control large parts of northern Iraq and have vowed to seize Baghdad from the Shiite-led government.
The U.S. also is considering working with Iran. But the Pentagon says it has no plans to enter into military cooperation with the Iranians in any action in Iraq.
A top State Department official says U.S. and Iranian diplomats met briefly Monday on the sidelines of nuclear talks in Vienna. The official says talks with the Iranians will not include any discussion of military coordination.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry told Yahoo News that the Iranians first have to be prepared to do something to respect Iraqi integrity and sovereignty before Washington makes a decision.
U.S. State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki says this is not just a military challenge for Iraq's government. She says Iraqi leaders must make a sincere effort to govern in a non-sectarian manner and listen to the legitimate grievances of the Shiite, Sunni and Kurdish communities.
Iraq's Sunni minority bitterly complained that the Shiite government sidelined it and ignored its problems -- leading to terrorism and setting the stage for the current uprising by the militants.
Some information for this report provided by Reuters.