"The United States will not pursue military options that support one sect inside of Iraq at the expense of another," Obama said. "There is no military solution inside of Iraq, certainly not one that is led by the United States."
Obama emphasized that Iraq leaders had to solve Iraq's problems: "It's not the place of the United States to choose Iraq's leaders."
Obama also acknowledged that it is in the U.S. national security interests that Iraq not fall into an all out civil war. A civil war could destabilize the region, create a safe haven for extremists group and adversely impact issues such as energy by disrupting oil exports.
A video of Obama's comments on Iraq is attached to this post.
Iraq has been careening toward all out civil war as the militant group Islamic State is Iraq and Syria (ISIS) continues to gain territory in northern areas of the country. ISIS, formerly known as Al-Qaeda in Iraq, took control of Mosul earlier this month.
ISIS has often taken control of Sunni areas where it enjoys more popular support with little to no fighting by the Iraqi military forces. But, it has, so far, stayed clear of Shia areas such as Baghdad where it likely would encounter stronger resistance from local militias. The dispute between the Shia and Sunni sects of Islam dates back 1,400 years and originated as a fight over the succession of leadership following the death of Muhammad.