Secretary of State John Kerry is in the Middle East working to build a necessary coalition by regional powers to support American action against ISIS.
Kerry met with Iraqi Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi and was reassured that the Iraqi government is ready and prepared to build up their own military infrastructure. Kerry was impressed by “[al-Adbadi’s] commitment to broad reforms that are necessary in Iraq to bring every segment of Iraqi society to the table.” The Prime Minister emphasized the need for the international community to begin the fight against ISIS and “stop the spread of this cancer.”
In a news conference from Baghdad Wednesday, Kerry reiterated that the United States will not coordinate with Iran militarily, although Iran opposes ISIS.
“The United States is extremely unlikely to cooperate directly with the Assad regime or Iran at this juncture,” Kerry asserted.
The Saudi Foreign Minister invited the Iraqi Foreign Minister to a meeting with Kerry in Jedda, Saudi Arabia, for further talks on coordinating efforts against ISIS. Kerry highlights that this move signifies vast improvement in levels of cooperation among Sunni governments. The diplomatic recognition of the Iraqi government by the Saudis is vital to proceeding with any type of military coalition.
Kerry’s trip to the Middle East comes just after a NATO summit in Wales where President Obama engaged a number of European countries to form the emerging coalition against ISIS. Obama recognizes that airstrikes will not be enough to defeat ISIS, so the support from the international community, especially Sunni states bordering Iraq and Syria, is imperative to the operation’s success.
Obama’s foreign policy has been criticized by both sides of the aisle in light of his dealings with ISIS and the conflicts between Ukraine and Russia. An NBC/Wall Street Journal poll shows that only 32% of Americans, an all-time low, support the President’s foreign policy.