News / USA

US, Iraq Vow to Fight al-Qaida Surge

US, Iraq Vow to Fight al-Qaida Surgei
X
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

VOA Exclusive: Interview With Myanmar President Thein Sein

Thein Sein calls allegations that minority Muslim Rohingya are fleeing alleged torture in Rakhine state a media fabrication More

Video Better Protective Suit Sought for Ebola Caregivers

Current suit is uncomfortable, requires too many steps for removal, increasing chance of deadly contact with virus More

UN Rights Commission Investigates Eritrea

Three-member commission will start collecting first-hand information from victims and other witnesses in Switzerland and Italy next week More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
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.
Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concernsi
X
November 19, 2014 11:39 PM
The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Mexico Protests Escalate Over Disappearances

Protests in Mexico over 43 students missing since September continue to escalate, reflecting growing anger among Mexicans about a political system they view as corrupt, and increasingly tainted by the drug trade. Mounting outrage over the disappearances is now focused on the government of President Enrique Pena Nieto, accused of not doing enough to end insecurity in the country. More from VOA's Victoria Macchi.
Video

Video US Senate Votes Down Controversial Oil Pipeline - For Now

The U.S. Senate has rejected construction of a controversial pipeline to transport Canadian oil to American refineries. The $5 billion project still could be approved next year, but it faces a possible veto by President Barack Obama. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, the pipeline has exposed deep divisions in Congress about America’s energy future.
Video

Video Can Minsk Cease-fire Agreement Hold?

Growing tensions between government troops and separatists in eastern Ukraine further threaten a cease-fire agreement reached two months ago in the Belarusian capital of Minsk. Critics of U.S. policy in Ukraine say it is time the Obama administration gives up on that much-violated cease-fire and moves toward a new deal with Russia. VOA's Scott Stearns has more.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Ferguson Church Grapples with Race Relations

Many white residents of Ferguson, Missouri, say they chose to live there because of the American Midwest community's diversity. So, they were shocked when a white police officer killed an unarmed black teenager in August – and shaken by the resulting protests and violence. Some local churches are leading conversations on how to go forward. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports.
Video

Video What Jon Stewart Learned About Iran From 'Rosewater'

Jon Stewart, host of the satirical news program "The Daily Show" talks with Saman Arbabi of Voice of America's Persian service about Stewart's directorial debut, "Rosewater."
Video

Video Lebanese Winemakers Thrive Despite War Next Door

In some of the most volatile parts of Lebanon, where a constant flow of refugees crosses the border from Syria, one industry continues to flourish against the odds. Lebanese winemakers say after surviving a brutal civil war in the 1970s and 80s, they can survive anything. Heather Murdock has more for VOA from the Bekaa Valley in Lebanon.
Video

Video China's Rise Closely Watched

China’s role as APEC host this week allowed a rare opportunity for Beijing to showcase its vision for the global economy and the region. But as China’s stature grows, so have tensions with other countries, including the United States. VOA’s Bill Ide in Beijing reports on how China’s rise as a global power is seen among Chinese and Americans.

All About America

AppleAndroid