Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA), Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, issued this statement in response to President Obama’s White House announcement regarding his plans to respond to the terrorist expansion in Iraq:

“The plan that the President announced today in response to the rapid terrorist expansion in Iraq underestimates the seriousness of the threat.  The steps he announced are needed, but fall short of what is required to stop this al-Qaeda offshoot from gaining more power, which must include drone strikes.

“Yes, Iraqis must solve their differences on their own, but this crisis comes as the Administration has disengaged from Iraq and willfully ignored well-known threats, including the growing strength of the al-Qaeda offshoot there and in Syria over the past two years.  The Iraqis have been requesting U.S. drone strikes against terrorist camps for nearly a year, and this Administration has repeatedly said ‘no,’ even as they have captured town after town.  This response is allowing Iran to fill the void and expand its destructive regional influence, enflaming sectarian conflict, destabilizing the Middle East, and creating an environment in which the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria and other al-Qaeda offshoots will thrive.  Our closest allies and our critical national security interests in the region are in jeopardy.  Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the terrorist leading this charge, directly threatened New York in 2009, and President Obama should take that seriously.”