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

Video Positive Messaging Helps Revamp Ethiopia's Image

In country once connected with war, poverty, famine, headlines now focus on fast-growing economy, diplomatic reputation More

Russian Activist Thinks Kremlin Ordered Nemtsov's Death

Alexei Navalny says comments of Russian liberals who think government wasn't involved are 'nonsense.' More

Video Land Disputes Rise Amid Uganda Oil Boom

Investors appear to be cashing in by selling parcels of land to multiple buyers More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Positive Messaging Transforms Ethiopia's Imagei
X
Marthe van der Wolf
March 03, 2015 9:03 PM
Ethiopia was once known for famine and droughts. Now, headlines more often point to its fast-growing economy and its emergence as a regional peacemaker. How has Addis Ababa changed the narrative? VOA's Marthe van der Wolf reports.
Video

Video Positive Messaging Transforms Ethiopia's Image

Ethiopia was once known for famine and droughts. Now, headlines more often point to its fast-growing economy and its emergence as a regional peacemaker. How has Addis Ababa changed the narrative? VOA's Marthe van der Wolf reports.
Video

Video Cyber War Rages Between Iran, US

A newly published report indicates Iran and the United States have increased their cyber attacks on each other, even as their top diplomats are working toward an agreement to guarantee Iran does not develop a nuclear weapon and to free Iran from international sanctions. The development is part of a growing global trend. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video Answers Elude Families of MH370 Passengers

For the families on board Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, an airline official’s statement nearly one year ago that the plane had lost contact with air traffic control at 2:40 AM is the only thing that remains confirmed. William Ide reports.
Video

Video Land Disputes Arise Amid Uganda Oil Boom

Ugandan police say there has been a sharp increase in land disputes, with 10 new cases being reported each day. The claims come amid an oil boom as investors appear to be cashing in by selling parcels of land to multiple buyers. Meanwhile, the people who have been living on the land for decades are chased away, sometimes with a heavy hand. VOA's Serginho Roosblad reports.
Video

Video In Russia, Many Doubt Opposition Leader's Killer Will Be Found

The funeral has been held in Moscow for Boris Nemtsov, the opposition leader who was assassinated late Friday just meters from the Kremlin. Nemtsov joins a growing list of outspoken critics of Russia under the leadership of President Vladimir Putin who are believed to have been murdered for their work. VOA’s Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
Video

Video Simulated Astronauts Get Taste of Mars, in Hawaii

For generations, people have dreamed of traveling to Mars to explore Earth's closest planetary neighbor. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports that while space agencies like NASA are planning manned missions to the planet, some volunteers in Hawaii are learning how humans will cope with months in isolation on a Mars base.
Video

Video Destruction of Iraq Artifacts Shocks Archaeologists

The city of Mosul was once one of the most culturally rich and religiously diverse cities in Iraq. That tradition is under attack by members of the Islamic State who have made Mosul their capital city. The Mosul Museum is the latest target of the group’s campaign of terror and destruction, and is of grave concern to archaeologists around the world. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video Smartphones May Help in Diagnosing HIV

Diagnosing infections such as HIV requires expensive clinical tests, making the procedure too costly for many poor patients or those living in remote areas. But a new technology called lab-on-a-chip may make the tests more accessible to many. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Refugees Complain of Harassment in Pakistan

Afghan officials have expressed concern over reports of a crackdown on Afghan refugees in Pakistan following the Peshawar school attack in December. Reports of mass arrests and police harassment coupled with fear of an uncertain future are making life difficult for a population that fled its homeland to escape war. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports from Islamabad.
Video

Video Ukrainian Volunteers Prepare to Defend Mariupol

Despite the ongoing ceasefire in Ukraine, soldiers in the city of Mariupol fear that pro-Russian separatists may be getting ready to attack. The separatists must take or encircle the city if they wish to gain land access to Crimea, which was annexed by Russia early last year. But Ukrainian forces, many of them volunteers, say they are determined to defend it. Patrick Wells reports from Mariupol.
Video

Video Moscow Restaurants Suffer in Bad Economy, Look for Opportunity

As low oil prices and Western sanctions force Russia's economy into recession, thousands of Moscow restaurants are expected to close their doors. Restaurant owners face rents tied to foreign currency, while rising food prices mean Russians are spending less when they dine out. One entrepreneur in Moscow has started a dinner kit delivery service for those who want to cook at home to save money but not skimp on quality. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Presidential Hopefuls Battle for Conservative Hearts and Minds

One after another, presumptive Republican presidential contenders auditioned for conservative support this week at the Conservative Political Action Conference held outside Washington. The rhetoric was tough as a large field of potential candidates tried to woo conservative support with red-meat attacks on President Barack Obama and Democrats in Congress. VOA Political Columnist Jim Malone takes a look.
Video

Video Southern US Cities Preserve Civil Rights Heritage to Boost Tourism

There has been a surge of interest in the American civil rights movement of the 1950s and '60s, thanks in part to the Hollywood motion picture "Selma." Five decades later, communities in the South are embracing the dark chapters of their past with hopes of luring tourism dollars. VOA's Chris Simkins reports.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More