Kerry in Iraq to discuss ISIL violence

Kerry in Iraq to discuss ISIL violence
Mon Jun 23, 2014 16:54:44

US Secretary of State John Kerry arrived in Baghdad on Monday to discuss the latest offensives made by Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) terrorist group in Iraq.

Flying in from Jordan on a visit which the State Department had sought to keep secret amid security concerns, Kerry met with Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki and was to hold talks with Iraqi leaders across the political and communal spectrum.

Kerry "will discuss US actions underway to assist Iraq as it confronts this threat from ISIL and urge Iraqi leaders to move forward as quickly as possible with its government formation process to forge a government," State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said ahead of the meetings.

Iraqi security forces are struggling to hold their ground in the face of an insurgent onslaught that has seized major areas of five provinces, displaced hundreds of thousands of people.

Over the past days, Iraqi armed forces have had fierce clashes with the ISIL terrorists, who have threatened to take their acts of violence to other Iraqi cities, including Baghdad.

The militants have already taken control of some key northern Iraqi cities including Mosul, the country’s second-largest city, and Tikrit, the birthplace of former Baathist dictator Saddam Hussein.

Obama said last week that he was going to dispatch up to 300 military advisors to assist Iraqi forces battling the ISIL. He also said he was considering ordering airstrikes.

Kerry became the highest ranking US official to visit Iraq since the Takfiri militants started violence two weeks ago.

He arrived in Baghdad on the third leg of his Middle East tour, after visiting Egypt and Jordan.


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