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 One Year After Thai Coup, No End in Sight for Military Rule

Since carrying out the May 22, 2014 coup, the general has retired from the military but is still firmly in charge More

Goodbye, New York

This is what the fastest-growing big cities in America have in common More

Job-Seeking Bangladeshis Risk Lives to Find Work

The number of Bangladeshi migrants on smugglers’ boats bound for Southeast Asian countries has soared in the past two years More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs