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Secretary of State John Kerry cautiously signalled on Monday that the United States would be open to cooperating with Iran militarily in Iraq to beat back al Qaida-inspired fighters who pose an "existential" danger to that war-torn country and may look to target Europe and the United States.
“This is a challenge to the stability of the region. It is obviously an existential challenge to Iraq itself. This is a terrorist group,” Kerry told Yahoo News Global Anchor Katie Couric in an exclusive interview.
Prodded on whether the United States would consider cooperating militarily with Iran, Kerry replied: "Let’s see what Iran might or might not be willing to do before we start making any pronouncements."
But "I think we are open to any constructive process here that could minimize the violence, hold Iraq together, the integrity of the country and eliminate the presence of outside terrorist forces that are ripping it apart," the top U.S. diplomat told Couric.
Kerry said Obama was giving "a very thorough vettting of every option that is available," including drone strikes, and underlined that "we are deeply committed to the intergrity of Iraq as a country."
One of course has to wonder who was Kerry's intended audience for these remarks. The administration is facing a barrage of criticism from the right demanding aggressive military intervention in Iraq. There are plenty of other people who are adamant in the view that the US should not get involved in that never ending quagmire again.
The notion of some form of military alliance between the US and Iran really is enough to give one mental whiplash. For years the US has been imposing a boycott on Iran in an effort to curb their nuclear ambitions. Israel and Saudi Arabia would certainly not greet the prospect of such an arrangement with favor.