News / USA

US, Iraq Vow to Fight al-Qaida Surge

US, Iraq Vow to Fight al-Qaida Surgei
August 16, 2013 5:06 PM
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry welcomed his Iraqi counterpart to the State Department on Thursday, as part of a 2008 agreement outlining long-term cooperation on counterterrorism and other issues. VOA's Alex Villarreal reports from the State Department the talks came as Iraq is facing a surge in violence from the Iraqi branch of al-Qaida, a group now spreading into Syria.
US, Iraq Vow to Fight al-Qaida Surge
Alex Villarreal
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry welcomed his Iraqi counterpart to the State Department on Thursday, as part of a 2008 agreement outlining long-term cooperation on counterterrorism and other issues.  The talks came as Iraq is facing a surge in violence from the Iraqi branch of al-Qaida, a group now spreading into Syria.

It was another bloody day in Baghdad, as Secretary Kerry and Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari vowed to confront Iraq’s ongoing security challenges together.

“Sunni and Shi'ites extremists on both sides of the sectarian divide throughout the region have an ability to threaten Iraq’s stability if they're not checked.  And al-Qaida, as we have seen, has launched a horrific series of assaults on innocent Iraqis, even taking credit for the deplorable bombings over the past weekend.”

The attacks have raised fears of a return to widespread sectarian violence, fears Foreign Minister Zebari sought to allay.

“Iraq is not heading - is not crashing, and it's not heading to civil or sectarian war," he said. "There is a clear determination by the Iraqi leadership that, really, we've been there before in 2007, 2008.  We are not going to go there again.”

But just across the border, Syria already is there.  And extremists from Iraq are playing a role.

“This al-Qaida network, we know, stretches beyond Iraq’s borders.  With many al-Qaida leaders now operating in Syria, we all need to accelerate our work in order to set the conditions for a diplomatic settlement to the Syrian crisis," said Kerry.

Zebari stressed Iraq is “neutral” on Syria’s war and not providing arms or support to either side.

“No Iraqi volunteers are going to Syria with the consent of the Iraqi government at all,“ he said.

Kerry said Iraq has made progress in stopping the flow of weapons to and from Syria, but needs to do more.

Not even two years have passed since the United States withdrew from Iraq, after eight years of war and reports of a “weakened” al-Qaida.  But Johns Hopkins University professor Daniel Serwer, a scholar at the Middle East Institute, says the current expansion of the group in Iraq and beyond cannot be blamed on the United States.

“I don't think it represents a failure of U.S. efforts at all.  It was clear we were never going to kill every al-Qaida member in Iraq.  It represents a failure of the Iraqi government since the American withdrawal to contain and repress al-Qaida in Iraq, and, of course,  it represents al-Qaida taking an advantage of an opportunity in Syria,” said Serwer.

Thursday’s meeting is part of the Strategic Framework Agreement the United States and Iraq reached in 2008.  In addition to counterterrorism efforts, the accord covers joint commitments in economics, energy, education, health and justice.

You May Like

HRW: Egypt's Trial of Morsi ‘Badly Flawed’

Human Rights Watch says former Egypt leader's detention without charge for more than three weeks after his removal from office violated Egyptian law; government rejects criticism More

Photogallery Lancet Report Calls for Major Investment in Surgery

In its report published by The Lancet, panel of experts says people are dying from conditions easily treated in the operating room such as hernia, appendicitis, obstructed labor, and serious fractures More

Music Industry Under Sway of Digital Revolution

Millions of people in every corner of the Earth now can enjoy a vast variety and quantity of music in a way that has never before been possible More

This forum has been closed.
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Study: Insecticide Damaging Wild Bee Populationsi
April 24, 2015 10:13 PM
A popular but controversial type of insecticide is damaging important wild bee populations, according to a new study. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.

Video Study: Insecticide Damaging Wild Bee Populations

A popular but controversial type of insecticide is damaging important wild bee populations, according to a new study. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.

Video Data Servers Could Heat Private Homes

As every computer owner knows, when their machines run a complex program they get pretty hot. In fact, cooling the processors can be expensive, especially when you're dealing with huge banks of computer servers. But what if that energy could heat private homes? VOA’s George Putic reports that a Dutch energy firm aims to do just that.

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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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.

VOA Blogs