The White House on Monday said it was up to the Iraqis to handle growing violence in their country, as al Qaeda-connected groups gain ground throughout the Middle East.

“This is something for the Iraqis to take the lead on and handle themselves,” White House press secretary Jay Carney said, dismissing the idea of putting U.S. troops on the ground in Iraq.

The deadly civil war in Syria has carried over to Iraq and Lebanon, with the Obama administration facing questions about how it will stem unrest in a region where it has spent massive amounts of U.S. blood and treasure.

Reports over the weekend said that al Qaeda-linked groups had taken over control of Fallujah, a city where American forces fought one of the deadliest battles of the Iraq War.

Republicans have accused the White House of turning a blind eye to the violence in the Middle East, creating a vacuum that allowed terrorist organizations to seize power.

However, Carney said the U.S. government is accelerating the shipment of missiles and other weapons to aid the Iraqi government.

President Obama has little desire to sell another foreign entanglement to a war-weary public, particularly since his path to the White House was paved by opposing the Iraq War.

But Obama’s foreign policy goals, primarily a Mideast peace agreement between the Israelis and Palestinians and curbing Iran’s nuclear program, will be impacted by whether the U.S. can limit growing instability in the region.