Iraqi insurgency threatens American interests, Kerry says

LONDON — The U.S. is contemplating military action in Iraq to quell the fast-moving insurgency because it has spent years investing in Iraq’s future, Secretary of State John Kerry said Friday.

Kerry said the Sunni insurgency, which has swept to control of several cities in Iraq’s west and north, is also plotting against American and Western interests.

Known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, the brutal insurgency has brought Iraq back to the forefront of U.S. foreign policy as the Obama administration debates how deeply to intervene halfway around the world. President Barack Obama has touted his decision to end the war in 2011 as one of his administration’s key successes.

Kerry said no decision had been made as of Friday as to whether the U.S. military would help Iraq beat back the insurgency. The Iraqi government has asked for U.S. airstrikes to target terrorists, and the Obama administration is weighing whether to do so.

Kerry said a decision would be made soon.

“Iraq is a country we’ve had a very direct relationship with, very direct investment and engagement with, not to mention the lives of our soldiers who were lost there, providing this opportunity to them,” Kerry told reporters at the end of a conference in London on combating sexual violence in conflict zones. “And I don’t think anybody in the region, or in this administration, believes it is in the interest of the United States to turn our backs on that.”

He said the U.S. is “laser focused” on helping Iraq.

Nearly 4,500 U.S. troops were killed in the war that began with a 2003 invasion led by the U.S., and the conflict cost American taxpayers hundreds of billions of dollars.

There were signs that pulling together another international coalition — which Obama said in his recent West Point foreign policy speech was his preferred method of military intervention — on Iraq would be difficult.

British Foreign Secretary William Hague said the U.K. is not prepared to offer military intervention in Iraq. London’s reluctance to provide military action in Syria last year was a driving factor in the White House refusal to launch air strikes there.

The German foreign minister, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, said Friday that the Sunni-led insurgency was a powerful force that could make preventing a partitioned Iraq very difficult.

Kerry also briefly cited evidence of plots that the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant has built against the United States and the West, but he did not provide any details. Kerry described ISIL as a “terrorist enemy” that has threatened the U.S. and West. He said the insurgent network, which is inspired by if not directly linked to al-Qaida, “has been plotting and looking for opportunities to take on the West.”

Obama made clear in the speech at the U.S. Military Academy on May 27 that he believes unilateral American military action should be reserved for instances in which core national interests are challenged or the public’s safety is in jeopardy.

More in Local News

Longboarders from near and far hit the trail in Arlington

The Centennial Sk8 Festival was serious competition for some and just for fun for others.

Signs show the rates for using the express toll lanes for traffic headed southbound on Interstate 405, Tuesday, Feb. 16, 2016, in Bothell, Wash. Gov. Jay Inslee announced plans Tuesday to try to decrease congestion on I-405 in answer to commuter complaints that the new express lane tolling system is making traffic worse. The governor said he would not be shutting down the tolling system as some people have called for. But the state transportation department is making plans to add new northbound general purpose lanes to ease some of the congestion and also plan to make it easier to move into and out of the express lanes. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
After a 2-year trial, are I-405’s toll lanes here to stay?

Lawmakers will decide whether to keep them or end the experiment and try something else.

Weary drivers using toll lanes say they have little choice

Congestion continues to be a tedious reality for commuters on I-405, which is as clogged as ever.

Council passes six-month moratorium on safe injection sites

Proposal by County Councilman Nate Nehring passed unanimously.

Terrace woman held following collision in Everett

The three occupants in vehicle were transported to a local hospital in serious condition.

Information sought on drive-by shooting in Everett

Debris from an apparent crash, evidence of gunfire found in the 2800 block of California Street.

Crews recover body of man who fell over Wallace Falls

The area where the man fell is called Sky Valley Lookout, 2.4 miles from the parking lot.

Herald photos of the week

A weekly collection of The Herald’s best images by staff photographers and… Continue reading

This week’s Herald Super Kid is Nathan Nicholson of Snohomish High School. (Dan Bates / The Herald)
‘The future is biotech,’ but for now he’s busy with everything

Snohomish senior Nathan Nicholson is a student leader and media master.

Most Read