Kerry swoops in as Iraq struggles with inconsistent force
Monday, June 23, 2014 - 01:22
Iraqi force bombed an ISIL building in Baiji and reportedly retreated from a major border with Jordan, leaving the checkpoint in the hands of Sunni militants. Deborah Gembara reports.
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This major border crossing into Jordan is now in the hands of Sunni militants. Iraqi forces reportedly retreated in this latest video posted to a social media website that Reuters cannot independently verify.
In Baiji, far more assertive Iraqi forces bomb a building and vehicles they say belong to ISIL. The country's military profile on Monday --- consistently inconsistent. This is the town-by-town fight U.S. personnel will act as advisors to.
Signs of fracture everywhere --- while in Baghdad, the top U.S. diplomat focused on inclusiveness and political reform.
SOUNDBITE: U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE JOHN KERRY SAYING:
"The key today was to get from each of the government leaders a clarity with respect to the road forward in terms of government formation. And indeed, Prime Minister Maliki firmly and on multiple occasions, because it was a great part of the conversation, affirmed his commitment to July 1 as the date when the representatives will convene and when they must choose a speaker, and a president, and then the prime minister. And he committed to try to move that process as expeditiously as possible."
Secretary of State John Kerry swooped into Iraq for crisis meetings with President Nuri al-Maliki on Monday --- assuring Baghdad of U.S. backing even as he insisted the Shia-led government change course entirely.
SOUNDBITE: U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry saying:
"The support will be intense and sustained and if Iraq's leaders take the necessary steps to bring the country together, it will be effective. It will allow Iraqi security forces to confront ISIL more effectively and in a way that respects Iraq's sovereignty while also respecting America's and the region's vital interests."
While the U.S. is sending hundreds of advisors here --- Washington has stopped short of carrying out airstrikes on enemy targets --- insisting that Baghdad do more to overcome differences with it's Sunni minority.
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