U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry touched down in Iraq Monday to pledge “intense” support to the country battered by Sunni militant forces.
“The future of Iraq depends primarily on the ability of Iraq’s leaders to take a stand against ISIL. Not next week, not next month, but now.” (Via BBC)
Kerry's unannounced visit came after those Sunni militants captured dozens of towns in northern Iraq. Iraq's current government is primarily run by Shi'ite leaders, with little input from other groups like the Sunnis. (Via Flickr / U.S. Department of State)
"The Sunni militants from ISIS have claimed four new towns in just the last few days. And now with the city of Haditha now in ISIS's sights, the extremists could gain control of key water supplies and damage the country’s electrical grid." (Via WJLA)
Kerry met with several of Iraq’s leaders, but began his day with a nearly two hour meeting pressuring Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki to focus on a more inclusive government. Maliki, a Shi'ite, has been known to marginalize other factions.
"Washington is worried Maliki's government may have aggravated the uprising by alienating moderate Sunnis who once fought against al-Qaeda." (Via Euronews)
Since 2011, the U.S. has been watching the Sunni insurgency grow after removing troops from the state. The extremists are lead by an al-Qaeda offshoot known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, or ISIS. (Via Flickr / U.S. Department of State)
Under the growing concern of the group destabilizing other Middle Eastern countries, President Obama announced last week he would be sending 300 military advisors to Iraq to strengthen the country's army. (Via ABC)
Kerry will head to Europe next to talk with NATO foreign ministers in Brussels. Voice of America reports State Department officials expect to hold informal discussions there with European partners about the situation in Iraq.