News / Middle East

Kerry Discusses Security Challenges with Middle Eastern Officials

Kerry Discusses Security Challenges with Middle Eastern Officialsi
X
June 26, 2014 11:08 AM
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is meeting with representatives of Middle Eastern and Gulf states to discuss security challenges in the wake of a quick advance of an Islamist insurgency. Zlatica Hoke reports the group's ambitions may not be limited to Iraq.
Zlatica Hoke

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is meeting with representatives of Middle Eastern and Gulf states to discuss security challenges in the wake of a quick advance of an Islamist insurgency.  A radical group that calls itself the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant has taken control of large swaths of northern Iraq and threatens to capture Iraq's capital, Baghdad. 

The onslaught by the militants began two weeks ago, sparking panic among Shia Muslims along their path and an exodus of people from the cities that have fallen under their control.

Secretary Kerry told an audience at NATO headquarters in Brussels Wednesday that the threat is not confined to the region. "None of us need to be reminded that a faraway threat can have tragic consequences at home, in the most unexpected way and the most unexpected moment," he stated.

Kerry urged the entire international community to focus on combating the growth of extremism which increasingly crosses state borders as evidenced in Iraq. 

"That's a new animal in a sense, and I think we are seeing with ISIL, crossing from Syria and moving rapidly into Iraq a similar kind of hybrid - new form of effort which is going to require people to think through strategically, intelligence gathering, preparations, response, response times, nature of response, and that's what the NATO alliance has always done effectively and that's what a lot of today's discussion focused on," he said.

Kerry said NATO members have to work on improving vigilance instead of building permanent bases.

 

ISIL Attacks in Iraq
 
  • June 10: Mosul captured
  • June 11: Tikrit and parts of Beiji captured
  • June 12: Samarra and Dhuluiya captured
  • June 13: Jalawla and Saadiyah captured
  • June 14: Clashes in Ishaki and Dujail
  • June 16: Tal Afar captured

ISIL, comprises Sunni Muslims, a group that was in power in Iraq during Saddam Hussein's rule.  Since Saddam's fall, Iraqi Sunnis have complained of repression under the new government dominated by Shia Muslims.  The radical group appears to enjoy support from some disgruntled Sunnis, but Iraq's Kurds also feel betrayed by the leaders in Baghdad.

The United States and its allies in the region say a more unified Iraq would be better able to fight the insurgency, but many see that as unlikely.  After a meeting Wednesday with U.S. President Barack Obama, Israeli President Shimon Peres expressed pessimism about Iraq and the entire Middle Eastern region.  

"I told the President [Obama] that the best thing that could have happened is that Iraq remain a united country, but I wonder if it is possible.  To do so, you need really to send a mighty army to force all the three parties to come together," said Peres. "I don't see the army that will do it and I don't see the parties that will agree to it."

The Israeli president said the Middle East as a whole is taken up by terror, which causes countries to fall apart.  He said the world cannot remain neutral in the face of bloodshed that is taking place there.

The Iraqi security forces are organizing to block the advance of the insurgents, but the military has not launched any major counteroffensive.

Secretary Kerry travels to Saudi Arabia Friday to discuss the situation with King Abdullah. 

You May Like

French Refugee Drama Wins Cannes Top Prize

Dheepan is about a group of Sri Lankan refugees who pretend to be a family in order to flee their war-torn country for a housing project in France More

Photogallery Crisis in Macedonia Requires Meaningful and Swift Measures

The international community has called on Macedonian leadership to take concrete measures in support of democracy in order to exit the crisis More

Activists: IS Executes 217 Civilians, Soldiers Near Palmyra

British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights on Sunday said the victims include nurses, women, children and Syrian government fighters More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmakingi
X
Bernard Shusman
May 24, 2015 2:55 PM
According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Millions Flock to Ethiopia Polls

Millions of Ethiopians cast their votes Sunday in the first national election since the 2012 death of longtime leader Meles Zenawi. Mr. Meles' party, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front, is almost certain of victory again. VOA's Anita Powell reports from Addis Ababa.
Video

Video Scientists Testing Space Propulsion by Light

Can the sun - the heart of our solar system - power a spacecraft to the edge of our solar system? The answer may come from a just-launched small satellite designed to test the efficiency of solar sail propulsion. Once deployed, its large sail will catch the so-called solar wind and slowly reach what scientists hope to be substantial speed. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video FIFA Trains Somali Referees

As stability returns to the once lawless nation of Somalia, the world football governing body, FIFA, is helping to rebuild the country’s sport sector by training referees as well as its young footballers. Abdulaziz Billow has more from Mogadishu.
Video

Video With US Child Obesity Rates on the Rise, Program Promotes Health Eating

In its fifth year, FoodCorps puts more than 180 young Americans into 500 schools across the United States, where they focus on teaching students about nutrition, engaging them with hands-on activities, and improving their access to healthy foods whether in the cafeteria or the greater community. Aru Pande has more.
Video

Video Virginia Neighborhood Draws People to Nostalgic Main Street

In the U.S., people used to grow up in small towns with a main street lined by family-owned shops and restaurants. Today, however, many main streets are worn down and empty because shoppers have been lured away by shopping malls. But in the Del Ray neighborhood of Alexandria, Virginia, main street is thriving. VOA’s Deborah Block reports it has a nostalgic feel with its small restaurants and unique stores.
Video

Video Effort Underway to Limit Damage from California Oil Spill

Cleanup crews are working around the clock to remove oil from the waters off the coastal city of Santa Barbara, in California. About 380,000 liters of oil may have leaked out before a rupture in an onshore, underground pipeline was discovered Tuesday. The environmental disaster hit the popular West Coast resort area before the Memorial Day weekend. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports investigators have yet to determine what caused the incident.

VOA Blogs