Obama to Meet With National Security Council

Facing decisions on crises in Syria, Iraq and Ukraine, President Barack Obama will meet with his National Security Council this afternoon at the White House in the Situation Room. The White House announced the 4 p.m. meeting — with Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. joining by telephone — early Thursday. The meeting comes as the president is considering whether to expand airstrikes against the Islamic State group into Syria, as well as Iraq, and faces a decision on how to respond to reports of Russian military incursions in Ukraine. Obama so far has been reluctant to impose either sweeping economic sanctions — which would hurt the United States as well as Russia — or to provide heavy arms to Ukraine. Instead, the United States and Europe have imposed targeted sanctions against a limited number of officials and companies, with no clear effect on the thinking of Russian President Vladimir Putin. And there's still no resolution to the disputed presidential election in Afghanistan.