John Kerry Lands in Baghdad Amid Surge by ISIS Militants in Iraq


U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry speaks to the press following his meeting with Canada's Foreign Minister John Baird at the State Department in Washington

Secretary of State John Kerry arrived in Baghdad amid a surge by Islamist militants who have seized large sections of Iraq.

NBC News’ Chief Foreign Affairs Correspondent Andrea Mitchell described Kerry’s visit as a “high-stakes mission to press Iraqi PM Nouri al-Maliki and other leaders to quickly form a government.”

She added: “U.S. officials privately hope other Shiite leaders will step up to replace Maliki, whom they blame for creating the tensions that gave ISIS an opening to launch their onslaught.”

While visiting Egypt on Sunday, Kerry warned that the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) was a “threat to all of the countries in the region.” The Sunni militants have taken control of cities including Mosul and Tikrit and vowed to seize Baghdad.

Kerry added: “None of us can afford to leave that entity with a safe haven which would become a base for terror against anyone and all, not only in the region but outside of the region as well.”

Kerry also dismissed accusations that the U.S. was to blame for Iraq’s unrest.

“What’s happening in Iraq is not happening because of the United States, in terms of this current crisis,” he said. “This is about ISIL’s [another acronym for ISIS]terrorist designs on the state of Iraq. And no one should mistake what is happening or why.”

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