Despite 35 years of diplomatic discord, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is publicly making overtures to Iran that the U.S. could use its military aid as Iraq crumbles under sectarian violence and instability.
The United States may be willing to allow the Islamic republic to cooperate in a military intervention in neighboring Iraq, as parts of the country are being taken over by al Qaida–inspired fighters a decade after the American invasion, Kerry told Yahoo News.
Kerry isn’t making any promises on what’s in it for Iran, saying the U.S. should gauge the Middle Eastern nation’s interest first.
He added, “I think we are open to any constructive process here that could minimize the violence, hold Iraq together, the integrity of the country, and eliminate the presence of outside terorrist forces that are ripping it apart.”
Iraqi Sunni militants known as the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria took over the small city of Tal Afar Monday, and boasted Sunday that they had massacred hundreds of Shiite members of Iraq’s security forces in Tikrit. The militants have been cementing control of northern Iraq through terror and bloodshed.
Tehran’s clerical leaders would be wading into a mess, in a country Iran fought for eight years during a bloody war in the 1980s. Yet it’s not hard to see why southern Iraq, with its sacred Shiite holy sites and lucrative oil fields, could be of interest to the clerics/oil barons in Iran, where Shiite Muslims are a majority.
Even so, after decades of mutual enmity, it would be tough to make the very first joint action of the U.S. and Iran a difficult military mission to keep Iraq whole.
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