News / Middle East

US Committed to Iraq, Accelerating Weapons, Drone Deliveries

An Iraqi riot police officer flashes the V-sign as his unit returns to its headquarters from clashes between Iraqi army and al-Qaida fighters Basra, Iraq's second-largest city, Jan. 5, 2014.
An Iraqi riot police officer flashes the V-sign as his unit returns to its headquarters from clashes between Iraqi army and al-Qaida fighters Basra, Iraq's second-largest city, Jan. 5, 2014.
The White House said Monday that the United States will remain strongly committed to Iraq as it fights al-Qaida affiliated groups, but it said, again, that American troops will not return to Iraq.  

The surge in fighting between Iraqi government forces and al-Qaida-linked militants is a concern to the United States, which is accelerating the delivery of air to ground Hellfire missiles to Baghdad.

Amid the mounting death toll in Iraq, the U.S. has urged Iraq's government to work with tribal leaders in mostly Sunni Anbar province and with national political leaders, to isolate al-Qaida elements.

Fallujah, IraqFallujah, Iraq
x
Fallujah, Iraq
Fallujah, Iraq
On Monday, Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki urged residents of Fallujah to expel militants who are part of the al-Qaida-linked Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, or ISIL.

White House spokesman Jay Carney said it's up to Iraqis to take the lead, both in the fighting on the ground and what he called this "holistic" strategy to isolate militants, as the U.S. speeds up the delivery of weapons.

"We are accelerating our foreign military sales deliveries and are looking to provide an additional shipment of Hellfire missiles as early as this spring.  These missiles are one small element of that holistic strategy but they have proven effective at denying ISIL the safe haven zones that it has sought to establish in western Iraq," said Carney.

At the Pentagon, spokesman Colonel Steve Warren pointed to some success in isolating al-Qaida affiliated groups.

“We've seen some early success along these lines in Ramadi.  Tribal forces and police, with the Iraqi army providing overwatch, appear to have isolated the ISIL in pockets of the city.  It's still early, however," said Warren.

Other U.S. assistance to Iraq will include 10 surveillance drones to help Iraqi forces track terrorists and 48 low altitude unmanned vehicles scheduled for delivery later in the year.

White House spokesman Carney also was asked about President Obama's reaction to some Senate Republicans who blamed the deterioration in Iraq on the withdrawal of U.S. forces.

"If members were suggesting that there should be American troops fighting and dying in Fallujah today, they should say so," he said.

Carney said there was violent sectarian conflict in Iraq even when U.S. forces there numbered 150,000.

The connection between the deterioration in Iraq and a potential similar scenario in Afghanistan is an uncomfortable one for the administration and members of Congress, after years of bloodshed and great financial costs.

The U.S. has been waiting for a final Afghan signature on a Bilateral Security Agreement.  President Hamid Karzai has so far refused to sign, although the document was approved by Afghanistan's council of tribal elders, the Loya Jirga.

Jay Carney repeated that the U.S. and NATO would be unable to plan for a post-2014 troop presence, including a training and counter-terrorism role for some U.S. forces, unless the document is signed.

He said this is a matter of weeks not months and that if the agreement is not concluded promptly, the U.S. and its allies will be forced to initiate planning for a future without U.S. or NATO troops in Afghanistan.

You May Like

Tired of Waiting, South Africans Demand Change ‘Now’

With chronic poverty and lack of basic services largely fueling recent xenophobic attacks, many in Rainbow Nation say it’s time for government to act More

Challenges Ahead for China's Development Plans in Pakistan

Planned $46 billion in energy and infrastructure investments in Pakistan are aimed at transforming the country into a regional hub for trade and investment More

'Forbidden City' Revisits Little Known Era of Asian-American Entertainment

Little-known chapter of entertainment history captured in 80s documentary is revisited in new digitally remastered format and book More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Cinema That Crosses Borders Showcased at Tribeca Film Festivali
X
April 24, 2015 4:09 AM
Among the nearly 100 feature length films being shown at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival in New York City are more than 20 documentaries and features with international appeal, from a film about a Congolese businessman in China, to documentaries shot in Pakistan and diaspora communities in the U.S., to a poetic look at disaffected South African youth. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video Cinema That Crosses Borders Showcased at Tribeca Film Festival

Among the nearly 100 feature length films being shown at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival in New York City are more than 20 documentaries and features with international appeal, from a film about a Congolese businessman in China, to documentaries shot in Pakistan and diaspora communities in the U.S., to a poetic look at disaffected South African youth. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video UN Confronts Threat of Young Radicals

The radicalization and recruitment of young people into Islamist extremist groups has become a growing challenge for governments worldwide. On Thursday, the U.N. Security Council heard from experts on the issue, which has become a potent threat to international peace and security. VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports.
Video

Video Growing Numbers of Turks Discover Armenian Ancestry

In a climate of improved tolerance, growing numbers of people in Turkey are discovering their grandmothers were Armenian. Hundreds of thousands of Armenians escaped the mass deportations and slaughter of the early 1900's by forced conversion to Islam. Or, Armenian children were taken in by Turkish families and assimilated. Now their stories are increasingly being heard. Dorian Jones reports from Istanbul that the revelations are viewed as an important step.
Video

Video Migrants Trek Through Western Balkans to Reach EU

Migrants from Africa and other places are finding different routes into the European Union in search of a better life. The Associated Press followed one clandestine group to document their trek through the western Balkans to Hungary. Zlatica Hoke reports that the migrants started using that route about four years ago. Since then, it has become the second-most popular path into Western Europe, after the option of sailing from North Africa to Italy.
Video

Video TIME Magazine Honors Activists, Pioneers Seen as Influential

TIME Magazine has released its list of celebrities, leaders and activists, whom it deems the world’s “most influential” in 2015. VOA's Ramon Taylor reports from New York.
Video

Video US Businesses See Cuba as New Frontier

The Obama administration's opening toward Cuba is giving U.S. companies hope they'll be able to do business in Cuba despite the continuation of the U.S. economic embargo against the communist nation. Some American companies have been able to export some products to Cuba, but the recent lifting of Cuba's terrorism designation could relax other restrictions. As VOA's Daniela Schrier reports, corporate heavy hitters are lining up to head across the Florida Straits - though experts urge caution.
Video

Video Kenya Launches Police Recruitment Drive After Terror Attacks

Kenya launched a major police recruitment drive this week as part of a large-scale effort to boost security following a recent spate of terror attacks. VOA’s Gabe Joselow reports that allegations of corruption in the process are raising old concerns about the integrity of Kenya’s security forces.
Video

Video Japan, China in Race for Asia High-Speed Rail Projects

A lucrative competition is underway in Asia for billions of dollars in high-speed rail projects. Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Malaysia Thailand and Vietnam are among the countries planning to move onto the fast track. They are negotiating with Japan and the upstart Chinese who are locked in a duel to revolutionize transportation across Asia. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok has details.
Video

Video Scientists: Mosquitoes Attracted By Our Genes

Some people always seem to get bitten by mosquitoes more than others. Now, scientists have proved that is really the case - and they say it’s all because of genes. It’s hoped the research might lead to new preventative treatments for diseases like malaria, as Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Bible Museum Coming to Washington DC

Washington is the center of American political power and also home to some of the nation’s most visited museums. A new one that will showcase the Bible has skeptics questioning the motives of its conservative Christian funders. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Armenia and Politics of Word 'Genocide'

A century ago this April, hundreds of thousands of Armenians of the Turkish Ottoman empire were deported and massacred, and their culture erased from their traditional lands. While broadly accepted by the U.N. and at least 20 countries as “genocide”, the United States and Turkey have resisted using that word to describe the atrocities that stretched from 1915 to 1923. But Armenians have never forgotten.
Video

Video Afghan First Lady Pledges No Roll Back on Women's Rights

Afghan First Lady Rula Ghani, named one of Time's 100 Most Influential, says women should take part in talks with Taliban. VOA's Rokhsar Azamee has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Keeping Washington Airspace Safe Is Tall Order

Being the home of all three branches of the U.S. federal government makes Washington, D.C. the prime target for those who want to make their messages and ideas heard. Unfortunately, many of them choose to deliver them in unorthodox ways, including from the air, as a recent incident clearly showed involving a gyrocopter landing on the Capitol’s West Lawn. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video New Brain Mapping Techniques Could Ease Chronic Pain

From Boulder, Colorado, Shelley Schlender reports that new methods for mapping pain in the brain are providing validation for chronic pain and might someday guide better treatment.
Video

Video Hope, Prayer Enter Fight Against S. Africa Xenophobia

South Africa has been swept by disturbing attacks on foreign nationals. Some blame the attacks on a legacy of colonialism, while others say the economy is to blame. Whatever the cause, ordinary South Africans - and South African residents from around the world - say they're praying for the siege of violence to end. Anita Powell reports from Johannesburg.

VOA Blogs