As the Sunni insurgents, having captured major cities in Iraq, are making their advance towards the capital Baghdad, all eyes are on the US in anticipation of a military intervention that could help Iraqi army defeat the jihadists.
Barack Obama has said that his administration is still evaluating options and it will be days before Pentagon will make its decision regarding the issue, although no US ground troops will be deployed there.
The conflict, erupting from sectarian division in the country and the increasing stronghold of the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL or ISIS), is threatening to demolish the grip of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's government. Three years after the US and other coalition withdrew their forces from Iraq, the army of the Shiite-led government collapsed at the hands of the insurgents who have raised terror and fright in the nation, having seized power in major cities.
The group seized Mosul, the second largest Iraqi city, and two new towns this week and advanced to Saadiya and Jalawla in the Diyala province and surrounding areas, before advancing towards the capital.
Obama held talks with security chiefs over the unfolding crisis on Friday, claiming that he was reviewing military options. Obama also stressed the need, on the part of Iraq's leaders, to bridge sectarian divisions.
"Any action that we may take to provide assistance to Iraqi security forces has to be joined by a serious and sincere effort by Iraq's leaders to set aside sectarian differences, to promote stability, and account for the legitimate interests of all of Iraq's communities," Obama said.
This comes as tensions in the nation is all set to escalate after Iraq's most senior Shia cleric issued a call to arms to fellow Shias on Friday.
"Citizens who are able to bear arms and fight terrorists, defending their country and their people and their holy places, should volunteer and join the security forces to achieve his holy purpose," the message from Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, which was read out at Friday prayers in Karbala, the BBC reports.
Thousands of Shias are already reported to have joined the military, although there are no official documentations of the same.
The US president, though taking caution at the moment, has conceded that the ongoing crisis will pose a threat not just to Iraq and its people but that it could pose a threat eventually to American interests as well.
Iraq is in need of additional external support to "break the momentum of extremist groups and bolster the capabilities of Iraqi security forces", the president added.