Kerry: U.S. Backs Iraq, But Won’t Consider Boots on the Ground

A surge in violence from al Qaeda militants sweeps the country

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While bombings in Baghdad killed at least 34 people Sunday, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said America would help Iraq battle the al Qaeda militants that have overtaken two of the nation’s western cities — but emphasized that the fight belonged to them.

Kerry said that the U.S. was concerned over the mounting violence in the Anbar province, where al Qaeda militants have overtaken the capital city of Ramadi as well as Fallujah, USA Today reports. But he cautioned that intervention was not an option.

“This is a fight that belongs to the Iraqis. That is exactly what the president and the world decided some time ago when we left Iraq, so we are not obviously contemplating returning,” he said. “We are not contemplating putting boots on the ground. This is their fight. … We will help them in their fight, but this fight, in the end, they will have to win and I am confident they can.”

The two cities are near the border of Syria and Jordan, where a Sunni insurgency rose up against American troops and the Iraqi government following the 2003 invasion. Fallujah is remembered as the backdrop of the death of four American contractors, who were killed by insurgents in 2004 and their bodies hung f rom a bridge. Al Qaeda militants have spilled over from the war in Syria.

Iraq has been mired in sectarian violence since Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s Shiite-led government cracked down on a deadly Sunni protest camp late last month.

A series of bombs in Baghdad killed at least 20 people Sunday, USA Today reports. Among the explosions were two parked car bombs that exploded near a restaurant and tea house in the capital city’s Shiite northern Shaab neighborhood. The attack killed 10 people and wounded 26, officials say. A third parked car bomb killed five and wounded 10 in the Shiite eastern district of Sadr City, while another blast in the central Bab al-Muadham neighborhood killed three and wounded six. Two more attacks also left two civilians dead and 13 injured.

[USA Today]

38 comments
LeighCote
LeighCote

Hello, Our Military Forces need to move into Moscow to show Putin that United States is not playing some sort of game watching putin harm women and children while no one does anything and this keeps happening. Mr. John Kerry should bring a decision in front of "NATO" as Posting all United States Military out of Afghanastan and into "PUTIN" front gate here in Moscow. United States, Tanks, Horses Artillary, Special Forces, Cavalry need to March up and down in Downtown Moscow, lets make some chicken"SOUP" in downtown moscow with Putin!!

Terry Brown
Terry Brown

What a mess the American Goverment has left for these people.May the Lord have mercy on them.

Stephen Culpepper
Stephen Culpepper

Our troops have lain all the boots on the ground to last a millenia. We have an obligation to support but there are other ways to support.

Yoshi
Yoshi

"But don't expect boots on the ground" 

If history is any guide, we'll have "boots on the ground" AND drones in the air within a few months.

Kenny Kissenger
Kenny Kissenger

Yes...since U.S fled out of combat zone ..we can understand you John.

mrbomb13
mrbomb13

Once again, Courtney Subramanian wows TIME readers with a variety of spelling/grammatical errors, such as:

1) "...U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said America would help Iraq battle the al Qaeda militants that overtaken two of the nation’s western cities..."  It should read, "...had overtaken..."

2) "...and their bodies hund f rom a bridge."  Last time I checked, it was, "from," not "f rom."

3) "Two more attacks also left two civilians dead and 13 injured."  Proper writing convention states that you either write the numbers in only letters (two, thirteen), or in numerical form (2, 13).  It's improper to mix both forms in a piece of writing.

Seriously, where are the TIME Magazine editors who should have caught this??

Ben Reyes
Ben Reyes

Time to bring the troops back & concentrate on our own economy & infrastructure...

Abdulrhman Aljamous
Abdulrhman Aljamous

The dream of returning to the swamp, but America-Obama understands this very well

Daniel Zodda
Daniel Zodda

Won't give my opinion on whether we should go back in, but who the hell is SecState to decide this??!

Patrick Ejike
Patrick Ejike

Hahahhhahhahahaha ! Maybe you should put your boot in the air .

Mikey Chaves
Mikey Chaves

We are fighting a war against All Qaeda. If we don't follow them with boots, then we are we in Afghanistan still? Poppy fields and pipeline dreams my friends. The War on Terrorism is the employer to the War on Drugs.

Sam Anthony
Sam Anthony

ok, but don't ignore the time money and american lives we've invested. React to Iraq like you did to Libya & Syria.

Ed Craft II
Ed Craft II

They didnt want freedom in the first place.

Richard Horswell
Richard Horswell

Would not expect troops on the ground with this pacifist

Paul Petras
Paul Petras

We better not be going back! Complete waste!!! All we did for nothing.

Vartan Kasemyan
Vartan Kasemyan

I THINK WE'VE DONE ENOUGH TO "HELP" THE PEOPLE OF IRAQ.

Nnamdi Ohia
Nnamdi Ohia

I think God have to take charge than America.

Maya Naji
Maya Naji

the US should stop sending any weapons to the Middle East, including the rebels who r linked to al Qaeda and some armed militias.

Ron Butler
Ron Butler

You're "Mission Accomplished" was way back there, pal.

Ahmed Salaf AP
Ahmed Salaf AP

You need more DIESEL now , US -Be Fast&Furious then .

Vh Hurtado
Vh Hurtado

there are about 150,000 U.S.-paid mercenaries positioned in Iraq. But their sole mission is to protect oil and gas infrastructure

Faith Hope
Faith Hope

How long the soldiers have to live w/out their family?

Karl
Karl

.

Falluja is where the US army encountered demonstrations against the US when our troops arrived in 2003 and where over 10 Fallujans were killed by the first American troops on the ground. That didn't bode well. Later the four contractors were murdered and mutilated in a way that none of us who saw it can forget. After that the US army went in and in a city of hundreds of thousands cleansed the city of "militants", most of the local men, all Sunnis, who didn't sneak out of town when the US told them to. The city was thoroughly,  with a fine toothed comb, cleaned of Sunni militants. And now after a few years of Shia rule from the government we left in Baghdad the Sunni minority in Iraq (35-45%?) is in rebellion again. Americans are not aware that historically Iraq comprises a landscape that has always been ruled by Sunnis. Baghdad itself was the capital of the Arab Caliphate in the golden age of Islam ending with the Mongol sack of the city in the 1250's. Shia rule in Iraq is untenable to the Saudis both because it is Shia, but also because Iran is the only Shia ruled country with a majority Shia population. Our media and government need to separate the Sunnis and Sunni zealotry from Sunnis who want a jehad against the rest of the world. They are two different things. We need and have tried to build bridges to the local Sunni minority in Iraq but when push comes to shove we have allowed our "ally" the Shia government in Baghdad to have its' way. Now that this leads to a break up of the Iraqi state along religious lines and we threaten to help the Shias in Baghdad. Just like the Thirty Years religious wars in Germany that ended in 1644 everybody who jumped into the conflict added to the decimation of the natives. That's what will happen in Iraq, everyone and their brother will intervene, like in Syria and tomorrow millions of Iraqis will be refugees. By following an ignorant easy narrative explaining events we make ignorant choices and before we know it we will have turned the Middle East around our baby, the racist and cruel state of Israel, into a failed region., And this will help only one party on Earth; CHAOS.

Yoshi
Yoshi

The pacifist that was banging the "invade Syria" war drum?