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June 14, 2014 AT 1:56 PM
Two and a half years after President Barack Obama disentangled America from a long, unpopular war in Iraq, his options for helping the Iraqi government stave off a militant onslaught are slim as doubts simmer over whether even punishing air strikes would be effective. He will announce in coming days how far he is willing to go in responding to the crisis in Iraq, where militants are sweeping south towards the capital Baghdad in a campaign to recreate a large mediaeval Islamic caliphate spanning Iraq and Syria. While Obama has ruled out sending combat troops, U.S. officials say options under consideration include air strikes on Sunni insurgents threatening the Shi’ite-led government.