John Kerry Arrives In Baghdad As ISIS Continues Its Rampage
Secretary of State John Kerry arrived in Baghdad to meet with Iraqi officials about the recent threat from Isis. America has made its position on the current crisis clear, as John Kerry stated in Egypt, “[ISIS’] ideology of violence and repression is a threat not only to Iraq but to the entire region.”
But how much will the U.S. commit to stopping the threat?
Sending a high-level, big name official like John Kerry into a city that might be attacked is certainly a start. According to maps of ISIS’ activity, Baghdad is in the operational zone and about 53 miles away from Isis-controlled Fallujah.
John Kerry’s presence is no doubt a sign that the U.S. trusts the current Iraqi government’s security, at least enough to host the Secretary.
The U.S. has also committed 300 military advisers to help in the fight.
Whatever further assistance the U.S. provides carries enormous importance, both in foreign policy and elections at home, and is most likely John Kerry’s biggest concern.
Providing more support would most likely be an unpopular move.
Polls are currently being conducted on how the American public feels about another fight in Iraq, but judging from past polls, they are probably going to disapprove.
When asking about a hypothetical military campaign in Syria, Gallup polling found only 36 percent of respondents were in favor. Also when asking about American’s overall impression of Iraq, about 80 percent had an unfavorable opinion.
Despite the public opinion pressures, John Kerry may find that without U.S. support, Iraq will fall, and that would mean losing everything American forces so hard to achieve. Not to mention creating another breeding ground for terrorists.
The situation is surprisingly bleak.
ISIS, with just a few thousand men, have captured over a dozen cities, including strategically important places like Fallujah and Mosul. The group has also taken Tal Afar Airport, a blow to government forces who were planning to use the airport as a launching point for a counter attack.
ISIS’ operational area is essentially all of Northern Iraq, aside from those portions controlled by Kurds. According to reports on the ground, Iraqi forces are barely resisting.
All this creates a difficult job for John Kerry. Losing Iraq is untenable, but would Americans, who already have a low opinion of Iraq and military intervention, ever support an campaign that not even the Iraqi people are willing to fight?
Send in the drones?
The main topic John Kerry might be discussing is just how many drones will the U.S. use. The most massive drone offensive in history, one that would keep Americans home but still kill the bad guys, might be the only course John Kerry can recommend.
(Image: Secretary Kerry and Iraqi Foreign Minister Zebari Shake Hands at the Fourth Meeting of the US – Iraq Political and Diplomatic Joint Coordination Committee)