Sec. Kerry Goes to Baghdad to Deliver 'Intense' and 'Sustained' Support for Iraqis
Secretary of State John Kerry touched down in Baghdad Monday. The Secretary met with senior Iraqi leaders as radical ISIS militants continued their charge through Iraq.
“The future of Iraq depends on the decisions made in the next few days and weeks. Our support will be intense, sustained,” said Kerry after his meeting with Iraqi head of state Nouri Maliki.
Additionally, Maliki has agreed to set a self-imposed July 1st deadline to start looking into forming a new governing structure, which is said to be a prerequisite for United States assistance.
As ISIS continues its march through Iraq, slaughtering and beheading countless individuals each and every day, Kerry told Maliki that he needs to rise above “sectarian motivations” and reach out to his disenfranchised Sunni population.
Kerry said of the radical Islamist fighters of the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS): “They do pose a threat. They cannot be given safe haven anywhere. That’s why, again, I reiterate the president will not be hampered if he deems it necessary if the formation is not complete,” referring to the Iraqis' July 1st deadline to develop a more inclusive government.
As evidence continues to unfold suggesting the further collapse of the Iraqi military, Kerry said that President Obama has put together a “range of options for Iraq,” which may include joint intelligence gathering, military tactical advisers, and “steady supplies of munitions.”
On Monday, the Iraqi military was readying itself for an offensive, hoping to take back the Tal Afar airbase in Northern Iraq from ISIS, along with the city of Tal Afar, according to officials. Iraqi Major General Abu al-Waleed said, “At least 1,000 Iraqi troops have amassed to the north of Tal Afar and are firing rockets at militants in control of the city.”
At least 71 were killed in a separate incident Monday, when ISIS militants stormed an Iraqi police convoy that was transferring prison inmates to another area.