“The Vice President expressed concern for those Iraqis who are suffering at the hands of terrorists and praised the recent security cooperation between Iraqi Security Forces and local and tribal forces in Anbar province."
The United States fully supports Iraqi security forces and courageous Iraqi tribesmen as they confront al-Qaida-linked terrorists who have captured territory in Iraq’s Anbar province, including in Fallujah and parts of Ramadi.
Vice President Joe Biden recently expressed that support in two telephone calls with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and a separate call with Osama al Nujaifi, speaker of the Iraqi Council of Representatives, a prominent Sunni leader.
“The Vice President expressed concern for those Iraqis who are suffering at the hands of terrorists and praised the recent security cooperation between Iraqi Security Forces and local and tribal forces in Anbar province,” the White House said in a statement.
A surge in attacks by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, or ISIL, which is a group affiliated with al-Qaida, has contributed to the rise in violence that occurred in Iraq in 2013.
The United States remains in close contact with all of Iraq’s political leaders about how the U.S. can continue to support Iraqi efforts to defeat our common enemy. As White House spokesman Jay Carney said, while the Iraqis are taking the lead in this fight, the U.S. is “working closely with the Iraqis to develop a holistic strategy to isolate the al Qaeda-affiliated groups” so that tribes, working with security forces, can root them out of populated areas.
To further that end, Mr. Carney said the U.S. is “accelerating our foreign military sales deliveries and are looking to provide an additional shipment of Hellfire missiles as early as this spring. These missiles are one small element of that holistic strategy, but they have been proven effective at denying ISIL the safe haven zones that it has sought to establish in western Iraq.” The U.S. will also send 10 ScanEagle unmanned aerial vehicles, or UAVs, in coming weeks to be followed by 48 Raven surveillance UAVs later this year to help Iraq track terrorist elements operating in the country.
Secretary of State John Kerry has called the members of ISIL “the most dangerous players” in the Middle East. “Their barbarism against the civilians of Ramadi and Fallujah and against Iraqi security forces is on display for everybody in the world to see,” he said. “We will stand with the Government of Iraq and with others who will push back against their efforts to destabilize and to… wreak havoc on the region and on the democratic process that is taking hold in Iraq.”