According to the NYT, “Iraq’s top Shiite cleric exhorted all able-bodied Iraqis to take up arms Friday to combat the marauding Sunni extremist militants who have seized broad stretches of the country.” Meanwhile, President Obama wants a political plan from Iraqis before he commits to helping: “We’re not going to allow ourselves to be dragged back into a situation in which, while we’re there, we’re keeping a lid on things.”

+ Obama has already indicated there will be no American ground troops, but he has told the military to prepare a range of other options.

+ Vox: 11 facts that explain the escalating crisis.

+ NPR: Four things to know about the Islamist surge in Iraq.

+ Buzzfeed: Everything you need to know about the deadly extremist group ravaging Iraq and Syria.