Washington (CNN) – House Speaker John Boehner Thursday accused President Obama of ignoring the threat of al Qaeda linked groups gaining power in Iraq and called for the U.S. to send "some equipment and some services" to help the Iraqis mount a counter-terrorism effort.
"Starting with the President delegating his responsibilities to the Vice President, the administration has chosen to spend much of its time and its energy trying to explain why having terrorists holding key terrain in the Middle East is not the president's problem," Boehner told reporters at his weekly press conference.
The Speaker said after much "blood and treasure" expended in the war in Iraq the progress made is "now threatened and in the case of Fallujah, it's been reversed," referring to a city that was the site of prolonged battles with U.S. forces and insurgents. Boehner said the Obama administration should have negotiated a "status of forces agreement" with Iraq, but "it failed to deliver."
The Speaker called on the President to personally address the issue, saying, "the United States has and will continue to have vital interests in Iraq. We must maintain a long term commitment to a successful outcome there. It's time that the president recognize this and get engaged."
Asked if Boehner supported sending any American troops to Iraq, he replied, "I don't think that is called for at this point and time."
For now the Speaker said "there is equipment and some services that would be very helpful to the Iraqis as they develop this counterterrorism strategy that's going to be necessary, especially this urban environment in Fallujah."
Asked about Boehner's comments, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid responded toughly: "(I heard) the Speaker blamed President Obama for Fallujah. That takes a lot of gall.”
Secretary of State John Kerry said Sunday that the United States will help the Iraqi government in the battle against al Qaeda-linked fighters in western Iraq, but he stressed it won't send troops.