Kerry Meets with Iraqi Officials in Advance of President’s Speech on ISIS Threat

Secretary of State John Kerry arrived in Baghdad Sept. 10 to confer with the new Iraqi government and to lay the ground work for a more vigorous US effort to counter the ISIS threat that President Barack Obama is expected to announce in his televised speech Wednesday evening. With the new Iraqi government now in place, the US is ready to take additional efforts that will include military support for Iraq with logistics, intelligence, and airlift, the official said. He would not say if it would include renewed training for Iraqi security forces. The new Iraqi President Fuad Masum thanked Kerry for visiting days after the new government was formed and said Iraq is “very determined that the relationship between the US and Iraq … always stays positive,” according to a State Department readout of remarks made before the meeting. Kerry told Masum that Obama’s speech would “lay out … his plans and his strategy for how together, with many other countries involved in a large coalition, we will take on the challenge of ISIL.” He added, “As the President made clear, there was no way that this strategy could be implemented without the government formation taking place. And so I want to thank you, because I know you’ve personally made courageous and important decisions to move that process along.” (State Department background briefing) (Kerry and Iraqi Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi transcript).