Edging back into a military role in Iraq, President Barack Obama on Thursday said he was dispatching up to 300 military advisers to help quell the rising insurgency in the crumbling state. He called on Iraqi leaders to govern with a more “inclusive agenda” to ensure the country does not descend into civil war.

Though not specifically mentioning airstrikes, an option the U.S. has been considering, Obama said he was leaving open the possibility of “targeted” military action in the future. He said the U.S. also would increase its intelligence efforts in Iraq and was creating joint operations centers with Iraqis.

When coupled with previously announced steps, Obama’s actions could put about 600 additional U.S. troops back on the ground in Iraq. The 300 military advisers he announced Thursday would join up to 275 being positioned in and around Iraq to provide security and support for the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad and other American interests. […]