Secretary of State John Kerry visited Baghdad on Monday to meet with Iraqi leaders while Islamist militants were in the middle of seizing sections of Iraq.
Kerry said that the future of Iraq is dependent on the decisions that will be made within the coming weeks.
Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki agreed to start building a new Iraq government by July 1. If the Prime Minister keeps his word, the U.S. will provide support to Iraqis in fighting the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS). “Our support will be intense, sustained,” Kerry said.
Kerry had a closed-door meeting with al-Maliki for a little over 90 minutes. The meeting was held in the same location where an Iraqi journalist flung a shoe at ex-President George W. Bush in order to insult him in 1998.
Kerry was in Egypt on Sunday and said that ISIS continues to be a “threat to all the countries in the region.” The militants have already taken over the cities of Tikrit and Mosul, and they also promised to seize Baghdad.
In addition, Kerry dismissed allegations that the U.S. is to blame for all the unrest in Iraq. “What’s happening in Iraq is not happening because of the United States, in terms of this current crisis,” he said. Kerry said that the unrest is caused by ISIS’ terrorism.
On Monday, Kerry also mentioned that President Barack Obama already has a set of options for Iraq. Some of them are a steady supply of munitions, military advisers, joint operations centers, and enhanced intelligence.
The U.S. believes that Iraqi military divisions that are situated outside Baghdad have dissolved because of problems with equipment, training, leadership, and morale. The U.S. said that around 10,000 people in Baghdad are members of ISIS or affiliated with the group and they are steadily gaining control of the area.
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