Kerry Is Open to Talks With Iran as Situation Worsens in Iraq

Lefteris Pitarakis/AP

Claims of a massacre carried out by the radical Sunni group ISIS along with images of Iraqi soldiers being executed has raised greater alarm about the already deteriorating situation in Iraq.

Over the weekend, Twitter suspended the account linked to the al-Qaeda-inspired militant group, which has recently captured several towns and cities across northern and western Iraq, after the group posted pictures of what was reported to be the slaughter of 1,700 Shiite soldiers. Though the mass execution is still unverified, the captured men were said to be loyal to the government of Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki and were taunted as such in the captions of the photos. 

The filthy Shiites are killed in the hundreds,” one read. “The liquidation of the Shiites who ran away from their military bases,” read another, and, “This is the destiny of Maliki’s Shiites.”

 In reaction to recent events, the leading Iraqi Shiite religious leader, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, called on volunteers to defend religious sites as well as the city of Baghdad, which ISIS was nearing by the end of last week. What seemed like an inevitable ISIS invasion of the capital city was repelled in clashes over the weekend and the group instead fell back to solidify the gains made across other sections of the country.

It's being reported that the group captured the city of Tel Afar, just west of Mosul, Iraq's second-largest city, which was dramatically taken by ISIS forces last week.  

Meanwhile, the international community is grappling with how to deal with the chaos, which has fallen largely along sectarian lines and has blurred the borders between Iraq and Syria. Most notably, the United States dispatched an aircraft carrier to the Persian Gulf to lend itself some military options should the use of force be determined. Debate has already begun about the extent to which the United States should get involved. Last Friday, President Obama explained that there are no plans to send American troops into Iraq...again. 

The situation has also given Iran and the United States, bitter enemies for 35 years now, something recently unprecedented: a common enemy. Despite insurmountable mistrust, the communication lines between the two countries are opening beyond the wrangling over Iran's nuclear program. Sunday, Senator Lindsey Graham, a prominent Iran hawk, told the Sunday morning shows that the United States needs to work with Iran to help fix Iraq, (surreally) likening the situation to American cooperation with Josef Stalin and the Soviet Union against Nazi Germany during World War II. 

Lo and behold, American Secretary of State John Kerry seemed to cautiously embrace the idea Monday morning, telling Yahoo News that he would "not rule out anything that would be constructive" and that Washington was "open for discussions."

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
FROM OUR SPONSORS
JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Close [ x ] More from GovExec
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from GovExec.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Sponsored by Brocade

    Best of 2016 Federal Forum eBook

    Earlier this summer, Federal and tech industry leaders convened to talk security, machine learning, network modernization, DevOps, and much more at the 2016 Federal Forum. This eBook includes a useful summary highlighting the best content shared at the 2016 Federal Forum to help agencies modernize their network infrastructure.

    Download
  • Sponsored by CDW-G

    GBC Flash Poll Series: Merger & Acquisitions

    Download this GBC Flash Poll to learn more about federal perspectives on the impact of industry consolidation.

    Download
  • Sponsored by One Identity

    One Nation Under Guard: Securing User Identities Across State and Local Government

    In 2016, the government can expect even more sophisticated threats on the horizon, making it all the more imperative that agencies enforce proper identity and access management (IAM) practices. In order to better measure the current state of IAM at the state and local level, Government Business Council (GBC) conducted an in-depth research study of state and local employees.

    Download
  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    The Next Federal Evolution of Cloud

    This GBC report explains the evolution of cloud computing in federal government, and provides an outlook for the future of the cloud in government IT.

    Download
  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    A DevOps Roadmap for the Federal Government

    This GBC Report discusses how DevOps is steadily gaining traction among some of government's leading IT developers and agencies.

    Download
  • Sponsored by LTC Partners, administrators of the Federal Long Term Care Insurance Program

    Approaching the Brink of Federal Retirement

    Approximately 10,000 baby boomers are reaching retirement age per day, and a growing number of federal employees are preparing themselves for the next chapter of their lives. Learn how to tackle the challenges that today's workforce faces in laying the groundwork for a smooth and secure retirement.

    Download
  • Sponsored by Hewlett Packard Enterprise

    Cyber Defense 101: Arming the Next Generation of Government Employees

    Read this issue brief to learn about the sector's most potent challenges in the new cyber landscape and how government organizations are building a robust, threat-aware infrastructure

    Download
  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    GBC Issue Brief: Cultivating Digital Services in the Federal Landscape

    Read this GBC issue brief to learn more about the current state of digital services in the government, and how key players are pushing enhancements towards a user-centric approach.

    Download
  • Sponsored by CDW-G

    Joint Enterprise Licensing Agreements

    Read this eBook to learn how defense agencies can achieve savings and efficiencies with an Enterprise Software Agreement.

    Download
  • Sponsored by Cloudera

    Government Forum Content Library

    Get all the essential resources needed for effective technology strategies in the federal landscape.

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.