Keep up with the news by installing RT’s extension for . Never miss a story with this clean and simple app that delivers the latest headlines to you.

 

Desperate times: Kerry says US ready to turn to Iran, drone strikes, to fight ISIS

Published time: June 16, 2014 17:50
Edited time: June 18, 2014 07:32
Fighters of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Reuters)

Fighters of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Reuters)

US Secretary of State John Kerry says that Washington is ready to use radical measures to halt the ISIS offensive in Iraq – including enlisting Iran’s help and launching air strikes.

"We're open to discussions if there is something constructive that can be contributed by Iran, if Iran is prepared to do something that is going to respect the integrity and sovereignty of Iraq," the diplomat told Yahoo News on Monday when questioned about joining forces with Iran, which enjoys religious ties with the embattled government in Baghdad.

But Kerry warned that the US should “see what Iran might or might not be willing to do before we start making any pronouncements."

Later, the State Department and the Pentagon clarified that any joint action would be political and not military.

"There is absolutely no intention and no plan to coordinate military activity between the United States and Iran...there are no plans to have consultations with Iran about military activities in Iraq,”
said Pentagon spokesman Rear Admiral John Kirby.

The Al-Qaeda offshoot ISIS (or ISIL) – the Islamic State of Iraq and Levant – has pushed from its strongholds on the Syrian border and taken the major urban centers of Mosul and Tikrit over the past week. Its militias are currently stationed on the outskirts of Baghdad, where the government is staging a counter-offensive. Over the weekend, it claimed to have executed 1,700 loyalist officers.

“This is a challenge to the stability of the region. It is obviously an existential challenge to Iraq itself. This is a terrorist group,”
Kerry said of ISIS, a Sunni organization which has exploited the sectarian tensions partially incited by the hardline Shia policies of the current government.

The diplomat heavily criticized Prime Minister Nouri Maliki, but said the US will not be “issuing instructions or orders” for him to resign or share power. He did, however, call on the “Iraqi people to form a government that represents all of the interests of Iraq — not one sectarian group over another."

Nonetheless, Kerry reiterated previous statements saying that the US would consider using air strikes – whether manned or unmanned – to prevent Baghdad from being taken by extremists.

"They [drones] are not the whole answer, but they may well be one of the options that are important," said Kerry. "I wouldn't rule out anything that would be constructive."

“When you have people murdering, assassinating in these mass massacres, you have to stop that and you do what you need to do if you need to try to stop it from the air or otherwise," Kerry added

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry (Reuters/Gary Cameron)

The diplomat said that President Barack Obama is conducting "a very thorough vetting of every option that is available."

Obama previously said the US would avoid a direct military intervention in the country it invaded in 2003 and left only three years ago.

Kerry echoed concerns by other US politicians that the growing might of ISIS – which plundered US$425 million from a government vault in Mosul last week and enjoys generous funding from Wahhabis in the Arabian peninsula – is endangering American national security.

ISIS “clearly are focused not just there, but they’re focused on trying to do harm to Europe, to America and other people, and that’s why we believe it is so important for us to be engaged."

Kerry said the organization counted fighters from the US, Australia, Britain, Canada, France, Germany, and the Netherlands in its ranks – and that those could later return to their home countries to stage terrorist acts.

Iran + US = a far-fetched plan?

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani (AFP Photo/Atta Kenare)

While the idea that Washington and Tehran may work alongside each other is a testament to the thawing of relations between recent adversaries, it currently seems unlikely that the initiative will bear fruit.

The two countries share a genuine strategic interest in keeping the Maliki government afloat (though their motives for doing so are fundamentally different) and Western media outlets have reported that the Islamic Republic has already dispatched elite Revolutionary Guards troops to buffer the Iraqi government, citing Iraqi and American officials.

But Iran has denied any military involvement in its neighbor’s conflict, as the head of the country’s Supreme National Security Council, Ali Shamkhani, publicly rebuffed the US offer, calling it “unrealistic.”

The two countries are also locked in tense late-stage negotiations over Iran’s nuclear program and potential sanctions relief. On Monday, the State Department released a statement saying that while it will discuss Iraq with Iranian officials at upcoming talks in Vienna, it is reluctant to link the two issues together.

Comments (135)

 

Alan 19.06.2014 15:52

This was the US plan all the time. Finance a new group of terrorists in Iraq and then force Maliki out so the Rockefeller oil cabal can replace him with a more amenable head of state. US wants it all in Iraq as long as it has any oil left.

 

Holly Parks 17.06.2014 22:04

Religious extremists are dangerous no matter what religion they are. These 2 groups have been arguing who the successor of Mohammad is for the last 1500 years. It's something the Bush administration did not understand or was aware of. Obombs has been trying to sort this mess out that Bush left behind and I have to praise him for being open to talking with Iran. Obomb was the one senator that voted against going into Iraq and he was right. Iran has not attacked anyone in 150 years. They are more western than Saudi. It's time the U.S. put to rest any ill will toward Iran.

 

Konstantin Devyatov 17.06.2014 20:42

Iran could turn this their way by signing an agreement, which will make sure US sticks to the international law. Russia could back this agreement and help keep US straight.

View all comments (135)
Add comment

Authorization required for adding comments

Register or

Name

Password

Show password

Register

or Register

Request a new password

Send

or Register

To complete a registration check
your Email:

OK

or Register

A password has been sent to your email address

Edit profile

X

Name

New password

Retype new password

Current password

Save

Cancel

Follow us

Follow us