In response to the surging violence in Iraq, President Obama is considering drone strikes andpartnering militarily with Iran, Secretary of State John Kerry told news anchor Katie Couric during an exclusive interview on Monday.
Kerry said Obama was giving "a very thorough vetting of every option that is available," including drone strikes, Yahoo News reports, affirming that the Administration is considering an aggressive response to the escalating civil conflict in Iraq, despite the growing call against U.S. military intervention which critical voices say was the root of the sectarian violence.
"Since 2003, the inner fight has been based on dividing Iraqis into sects and ethnic groups, like Sunni, Shia, Arab, Kurd, religiously Christian and Muslim,"Sami Rasouli, founder of the Muslim Peacemaker Teams in Iraq, recently said on Democracy Now! "That’s what is going on after the invasion. Iraq was one piece; now we see it falling apart."
Meeting in Vienna, Austria this week to discuss a comprehensive nuclear deal, U.S. Deputy Secretary of State William Burns and Iranian foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif are expected to weigh possible cooperation in Iraq.
Kerry told Couric that the U.S. is "open to" working with Iran in their response, although adding: "Let’s see what Iran might or might not be willing to do before we start making any pronouncements."
Early Monday, insurgents with the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) have now captured the northern Iraq town of Tal Afar, the mayor confirmed to the Associated Press.
The town holds a "key" location on the road to Syria, AP reports, with the takeover coming days after the al-Qaeda offshoot released graphic photographs claiming to depict the mass slaughter of up to 1,700 Iraqi soldiers.
The takeover comes a week after ISIL took Iraq's second-largest city, Mosul.