Chairman McKeon disappointed in Secretary Kerry's response to al-Qaeda threats in Iraq
House Armed Services Committee Chairman Rep. Howard McKeon (R-Calif.) said on Monday he is disappointed Secretary of State John Kerry's dismissal of recent threats from al-Qaeda in Fallujah.
"It took two bloody battles to liberate Fallujah," McKeon said. "Many U.S., British, and Iraqi forces - Sunni and Shia - lost their lives to secure that city. When our allies fight al-Qaeda for us, and the United States sits on the sidelines, not only do our allies notice, but so do our adversaries. I note that Iran has already jumped in with offers of assistance. When terrorism is allowed to flourish abroad, when the specter of insurgency haunts democratic nations, our own security suffers."
McKeon said al-Qaeda remains a shared threat for the U.S and allied forces.
At a press conference on Sunday in Jerusalem, Kerry said that while the U.S. has an interest in helping a legitimate and elected government push against terrorists, the fight "belongs to the Iraqis."
"We're not contemplating putting boots on the ground," Kerry said. "This is their fight, but we're going to help them in their fight."
Kerry said U.S. officials remain in close contact with Iraqi political leaders to provide support in their efforts.
"We can't want peace and we can't want democracy and we can't want an orderly government and stability more than the people in a particular area, in a particular country or a particular region," Kerry said. "And so we will help them in their fight; but this fight, in the end they will have to win, and I am confident they can."