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

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

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.
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