House Speaker John Boehner called on President Obama to become more "engaged" in helping stamp out increased al Qaeda militant activity in Iraq, but stopped short of calling for U.S. troops to become involved.
Boehner, R-Ohio, accused the president of ignoring for too long increased terrorist attacks in Fallujah and elsewhere in Iraq, suggesting that White House negligence is undoing years of U.S.-led progress in the country.
"Progress is now threatened" in Iraq, Boehner told reporters Thursday at the Capitol. "In the case of Fallujah, it's been reversed. A status of forces agreement with Iraq should have been agreed to, and this administration failed to deliver.
"We must maintain a long-term commitment to a successful outcome there, and it's time that the president recognized this and get engaged."
Boehner said equipment and "other services"— not U.S. troops — should be sent to local security forces in Iraq to push back the insurgency.
"There are things that we can do to help the Iraqis that do not involve putting U.S. troops on the ground," he said.
Boehner also accused Obama of "delegating" authority regarding Iraq to Vice President Biden. Biden twice in the past week has spoken with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki on the phone, underscoring American support for and assistance to Iraq in its struggled with al Qaeda.
Al Qaeda fighters seized Fallujah and Ramadi, two major cities in the western province of Al Anbar, last week, marking the first time that the militants have managed to take ground since U.S. troops withdrew from Iraq in late 2011, the Associated Press has reported.
The Iraqi security forces took back Ramadi on Monday, but sporadic clashes continued on the outskirts of the city.