WASHINGTON — John Kerry, Obama’s Secretary of State, offered “intense and sustained” U.S. support for the beleaguered and besieged Iraqi government on several conditions.
Reuters reported that Kerry arrived in the capital city of Baghdad and spoke with the Shi’a Muslim-led government, which has suffered massive defections and losses by the country’s military to the Sunni Muslim al-Qaeda militants in recent weeks.
The same Sunni Muslim and al-Qaeda-aligned militants took control of almost the entire western portion of Iraq, including the only legal crossing point with the country of Jordan. Other major cities like Mosul and former Iraqi dictator’s hometown of Tikrit have fallen to al-Qaeda’s offshoot ISIL and ISIS groups.
Obama was asked to give U.S. air support and to target the militants, but he refused to do so until the current head of the Iraqi government, Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, would step down.
Kerry told reporters, “The support will be intense and sustained and if Iraq’s leaders take the necessary steps to bring the country together, it will be effective.” However, it looks like Maliki may rely on Iran to fight the al-Qaeda militants.
The Kurds are fighting for their lives in the north and are trying to keep their autonomous, oil-rich region of Kurdistan safe from al-Qaeda’s grasps.