Australian Airplanes To Support U.S. Led Air Strikes In Iraq: Australian PM Tony Abbott

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Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott said on Wednesday that Australian military airplanes will join the U.S and an international coalition in support of airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Iraq.

Australian military planes will have a supportive role with flights over Iraq as the United States and its Arab allies fire away at Islamic State targets in neighboring Syria where IS militants have a strong base of support in northern Syria and Damascus is incapable of asserting control over the region.

“We have not yet made a final decision to commit our forces to combat but Australian aircraft from today will start flying over Iraq in support of allied operations,” Abbott told parliament on Wednesday.

In mid-September Australia sent 600 troops and 10 aircraft to United Arab Emirates in preparation for the U.S. led coalition.

Australia has already joined the international coalition in transferring weapons to Kurdish Peshmerga fighters who are battling Islamic State militants on the ground.

Australia also participated in humanitarian relief airdrops to assailed Iraqi communities where ethnic minorities were targeted by Islamic State militants in August.

On September 18th Australian police detained 15 people after receiving intelligence reports indicating that Islamic State militants were planning to carry out public beheading in two Australian cities.

U.S. And Allies Continue Bombing Campaigns in Iraq and Syria

On Tuesday Rear Admir John Kirby, Pentagon Press Secretary, said that the U.S. launched another round of overnight strikes in Iraq and in Syria, totaling more than 20, divided evenly between Iraq and Syria with fixed and mobile targets.

Kirby reported that the U.S. and coalition partners have conducted nearly 310 attacks from the air with more than 230 in Iraq and the remaining 76 carried out in Syria.

Islamic State militants have reacted to the bombing by mixing in with civilian populations and traveling more surreptitiously across the region.

Kirby explained on Tuesday that Islamic State militants have been adapting and changing their strategy in the face of international military opposition.

“Yes, they’re blending in more. Yes, they’re dispersing, and yes they aren’t communicating quite as openly or as boldly as they once were. That’s a good thing, because if they aren’t operating as freely, then they aren’t as free to achieve their goals” Admir. Kirby said in a Pentagon press briefing on Tuesday.

-Johnathan Schweitzer

U.S Strikes Oil Targets In Syria As U.S. Lawmakers Consider Congressional Vote To Use Force

BOMBSU.S. military airplanes struck temporary oil refineries in northern Syria on Sunday in an effort to weaken a key source of revenue for Islamic State militants who have captured large areas of northern Syria and are attempting to create an Islamic State and overthrow Syrian President Bashar Assad.

On Friday and Saturday the United States and its Arab partners attacked Islamic State targets in Syria, using fighter and remotely piloted aircraft to conduct seven airstrikes.

U.S. military forces also used attack aircraft to conduct three airstrikes against Islamic State in Iraq, according to U.S. Central Command News Release.

Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and the United Arab Emirates participated in the air strikes that are aimed at destroying the ability of Islamic State militants to carry out attacks in the region.

“Our targeted actions are disrupting ISIL’s command and control, their logistics capabilities and their infrastructure in Syria,” U.S. General Martin Dempsey said last week during a Pentagon news conference.

President Obama said on CBS’s 60 Minutes that the intelligence community in his administration underestimated what had been taking place in Syria.

“Well I think, our head of the intelligence community, Jim Clapper, has acknowledged that I think they underestimated what had been taking place in Syria, ” Obama admitted.

“Syria is more challenging, because the U.S. has few viable allies on the ground there,” Obama later explained.

Military analysts believe that Islamic State militants number in the range of 40,000 and are well equipped to fight against groups opposing them.

Sunni-based Islamic State originated in 1999 and was the forerunner of al Qaeda in Iraq which carried out insurgency attacks against U.S. forces in Iraq after the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

Islamic State grew stronger after the U.S. pulled its forces from Iraq and eventually dominated the Iraqi military in Sunni strongholds of western and north central Iraq, undermining  the leadership of former President Nouri Maliki, a Shiite, who controlled Iraq from 2006-2014 and lost credibility in the eyes of Iraq’s Sunni majority due to his sectarian practices.

Islamic State entered the Syrian civil war and is seeking to topple the government of Syrian President Bashir Assad, an Alawite, an offshoot of Shiite Islam, whose government stands accused of oppressing Sunnis and committing chemical weapons attacks.

But Islamic State has coalesced into more than a liberation movement for persecuted Sunni Muslims seeking to restore the balance of power in the Middle East.

Islamic State, with its international jihad recruits, are responsible for carrying out brutal attacks on ethnic and religious minorities across Iraq and Syria as it seeks to dismantle borders in both countries and impose a caliphate, sparking international condemnation and agreement among several Arabs nations that the militant group has become a legitimate threat to the stability of the region.

Through its caliphate form of rule, Islamic State claims religious authority over all Muslims across the world and seeks to bring the majority of Muslim regions of the world under its political control.

Along with the support of several European countries and Australia, the U.S. has come to the aid of persecuted religious minorities.

The U.S and  its European allies have armed and provided air support to Kurdish Peshmerga fighters on the ground who have reclaimed the Mosul Damn and other strategic locations in northern Iraq that were seized by Islamic State fighters.

Last week President Obama widened the air assault attacks on Islamic State in the region to include new targets inside the borders of Syria. Obama used existing authority granted to him to combat al Qaeda in 2001 that doesn’t require a Congressional vote.

Five Arab countries and France have joined the United States with air assaults against Islamic State targets inside Iraq with Belgium, Denmark, and the Netherlands pledging fighter planes.

Last week UK’s parliament approved air strikes against Islamic State targets in Iraq.

U.S lawmakers on Capitol Hill are requesting Congressional approval for Obama’s war against Islamic State targets as the scope of the war has moved to Syria where a 3 year sectarian civil war has divided the country and given sanctuary for opposition terrorist groups such as Islamic State to operate freely, using oil revenues from captured oil fields.

House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said on ABC’s This Week on Sunday that although the president has the authority to take military action against Islamic State militants in Syria, he will bring Congress back to vote on a new authorization to use force as early as next week if the president wants to move in that direction.

Boehner also called for American boots on the ground to combat Islamic State if no one else steps up.

“We have no choice” Boehner said. “They intend to kill us, and if we don’t destroy them first, we’re going to pay the price” he added.

The United States has sent 1600 American troops to Iraq in an effort to help advising and assisting Iraqis who are fighting Islamic State militants.

Saudi Arabia has agreed to allow 5,000 moderate Syrian opposition forces to train inside the country after the funding was approved by U.S. lawmakers on Capitol Hill.

-Johnathan Schweitzer

Johnathan1

Johnathan Schweitzer is a Seattle based writer, editor, and founder of Schweitzfinance.com, focusing on topics related to finance, politics, and technology. He can be reached at schweitz31@gmail.com

Stocks Under Pressure As Market Prepares For Less Monetary Stimulus

declineU.S. stocks faced selling pressure on Thursday and closed at the lows of the day as investors consolidated profits near the end of the month and digested a wave of negative news that kept buyers away and held the market deeply in the red.

Stocks faced their biggest plunge since the end of July and dropped over 1 percent with the Nasdaq leading the indexes lower at -1.94 percent followed by the S&P 500 at -1.62 and the Dow at -1.54 percent.

The day kicked off with weaker than expected durable orders in August from the Department of Commerce that saw a decline of -18.2 percent, a new record, after posting a record increase of 22.5 percent in July.

Later in the morning on Thursday, Bank of England Governor Mark Carney said that the first interest rate hike is “inching closer” before admitting that future increases in borrowing costs are likely to be “gradual and limited”.

A news story surfaced on Thursday from Moscow claiming that a member of Russia’s ruling party was considering a new proposal to allow its courts to seize foreign assets which comes as Russia’s wealthy elite are facing the wrath of international sanctions for annexing Crime in March and supporting armed separatists in eastern Ukraine later in 2014.

Iraq’s new Prime Minister al-Abidi told journalists on Thursday from the U.N. that Iraq has uncovered a plan by Islamic State militants to unleash terrorist attacks in the subways systems in New York and Paris, a claim that U.S. and French authorities have not confirmed.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio dismissed the claim and said, “I have a simple message for all New Yorkers. There is no immediate credible threat to our subway system.”

Nevertheless, political leaders in New York have decided to add more police in the subway areas as a precaution.

China

On Monday China’s Finance Minister Lou Jiwei said that China’s central bank won’t alter its economic policies because of weakness in the economy, suggesting that monetary easing stimulus measures are not likely to occur in the world’s second largest economy even after Chinese industrial production in August slowed to its lowest level since 2008, raising concerns about whether China can reach its annual GDP growth target of 7.5 percent.

Federal Reserve

Federal Reserve President Bank of Dallas Richard Fischer displayed his true hawkish colors on Thursday before an international audience after he said from Rome that the Federal Reserve may start raising interest rates in the spring of 2015, earlier than the market had expected.

“It’s assumed in the market place that we’ll start our liftoff in raising interest rates some time between the spring and the summer,” Fischer said.

“I won’t say what we’re saying internally, that would not be appropriate, but maybe sooner rather than later,” Fischer continued.

The Federal Reserve is planning to officially end its quantitative easing stimulus program next month and rely on its other form of monetary stimulus that involves holding its short term benchmark interest rates to near zero at .025 percent that hasn’t budged since December 2008 when it was pinned low during the depths of the global recession.

Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen and a host of other Fed officials have indicated that short-term interest rates will likely increase sometime in 2015 although the timeline hasn’t exactly been spelled out.

In June the Fed articulated in vague terms that interest rates will remain low for a “considerable time” after its quantitative easing program ends in October.

When questioned by economic reporters during the latest Federal Reserve Meeting in mid September, Fed Chair Yellen said that there is no “mechanical interpretation” for what the term “considerable time” means.

Yellen later explained that the timeline for raising interest rates is “data dependent” and “contingent on the economic outlook”.

On Wednesday Federal Reserve Bank President Charles Evans said that the U.S. Federal Reserve should be “exceptionally patient” in raising interest rates.

“I am very uncomfortable with calls to raise our policy rate sooner than later,” Evans admitted.

Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta President Dennis Lockhart also repeated that dovish sentiment on Wednesday when he announced during a speech, “I continue to expect conditions for liftoff to ripen by the middle of 2015 or a bit later.”

Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis President James Bullard carried a different message and sounded more hawkish on Tuesday during a banking conference after he said that his vision of the Fed’s rate hike involves him seeing the Fed raising interest rates sometime early next year.

– Johnathan Schweitzer

Johnathan Schweitzer is a Seattle based writer, editor, and founder of  Schweitzfinance.com, focusing on topics related to finance, politics, and technology. He  can be reached at schweitz31@gmail.com

Johnathan1

 

 

Durable Orders Drop in August; Fed President Fischer Talks Of Early Interest Rate Hike

rtU.S. equities have moved lower in early trading following the release of disappointing durable goods data along with hawkish comments about interest rates rising in 2015 from a Fed Reserve official.

On Thursday the Department of Commerce released a report that showed durable orders in August fell  18.2 percent to a new record in August after posting a new record increase of 22.5 percent in July.

Some of the decrease in August can be explained by airplane orders, a volatile category, which dropped 74.3 percent in August.

New orders for capital goods, an indicator of business investment, rose 0.6 percent in August.

Richard Fischer, Federal Reserve President Bank of Dallas, said from Rome that the Federal Reserve may start raising interest rates in the spring of 2015, earlier than the market had expected.

“It’s assumed in the market place that we’ll start our liftoff in raising interest rates some time between the spring and the summer,” Fischer said.

“I won’t say what we’re saying internally, that would not be appropriate, but maybe sooner rather than later,” Fischer added.

Yesterday U.S. equities rallied following better than expected new home sales which climbed 18 percent in August along with dovish comments from Federal Reserve Bank President Charles Evans who said that the U.S. Federal Reserve should be “exceptionally patient” in raising interest rates.

“I am very uncomfortable with calls to raise our policy rate sooner than later,” Evans said.

-Johnathan Schweitzer

U.S. Launches Airstrikes In Syria And Iraq To Combat Islamic State Militants

syria bombes

The United States and Arab coalition partners launched a series of early Tuesday morning airstrikes on Islamic State targets in Raqqa, Syria, a city in the north-central area of the war-torn country that is a stronghold of Islamic State militants.

Some of the airstrikes also hit targeted areas outside of Raqqa with the first round of missile attacks coming from a navy ship in the Mediterranean Sea.

The list of Arab coalition partners involved in Tuesday’s airstrikes in Syria includes the United Arab Emirates, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and Qatar playing a cooperative role.

According to U.S. Department of Defense Press Secretary John Kirby, the airstrikes were undertaken through a mixture of fighter and bomber aircraft and Tomahawk Land Attack Missiles.

“Given that these operations are ongoing, we are not in a position to provide additional details at this time,” Kirby said.

The airstrikes were authorized by President  Obama through a comprehensive strategy to degrade and destroy Islamic State targets across the region, using an existing authorization to combat al Qaeda that doesn’t require a Congressional vote.

In recent days, the Pentagon has signaled a greater willingness to extend U.S. military airstrikes to Islamic State targets inside Syria which is locked in a 3 year old civil war with 6 million displaced Syrians and over 190,000 war victims.

Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel told the House Armed Services Committee just last week that he and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey approved plans to strike ISIS targets in Syria.

Over the week-end, more than 130,000 Syrian Kurds crossed the border into Turkey after Islamic State militants seized dozens of villages close to the border, Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus said on Saturday.

Secretary of State John Kerry traveled across the Middle East earlier this month to organize a coalition of willing Arab nations to support efforts to confront Islamic State militants who removed the border dividing northeast Syria and northwest Iraq, attempted to eliminate religious minorities, and seek to impose an Islamic caliphate that stretches from Iran to the Mediterranean Sea.

Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, the chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, told the Senate Armed Services Committee on September 16th that he would recommend deploying American ground troops to Iraq and Syria if U.S. airstrikes proved to be unsuccessful.

Dempsey said that 12,ooo military troops could be needed to achieve military success on the Syrian side of the border where most of the estimated 32,000 Islamic State militants are believed to be scattered across the region.

The Obama administration backed away from Gen. Dempsey’s comments and insisted that no U.S. ground troops will be sent into combat in Iraq and Syria.

During an interview yesterday on MSNBC’s Morning Joe, Secretary of State Kerry reiterated that sentiment, insisting other nations in the region will fight for itself without the need for U.S. ground forces.

“Every country in the region is deeply threatened by this, and that includes Iran, includes Lebanon, includes all of the neighborhood. And it is absolutely fair and appropriate for the world to expect that that region will fight for itself, ” Kerry said.

U.S. Airstrikes In Iraq

The U.S. Central Command released a news release yesterday that confirmed U.S. military aircraft forces have continued military airstrikes against Islamic State targets in neighboring Iraq.

“U.S. military forces continued to attack ISIL terrorists in Iraq today, using a mix of attack, fighter and remotely piloted aircraft to conduct four airstrikes near the city of Kirkuk.”

The new release states that U.S. airstrikes “destroyed two ISIL vehicles, an ISIL tank, and damaged an ISIL Humvee, all west-southwest of Kirkuk.”

Thus far the U.S. Central Command has conducted a total of 190 airstrikes across Iraq.

-Johnathan Schweitzer

Alibaba To Debut On NYSE As Largest U.S. IPO In History

alibabaShares of Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. will trade for the first time Friday morning on the New York Stock Exchange after the Chinese based e-commerce company priced its shares for $68.00 a share on Thursday at the top range and is set to launch an initial public offering that will raise $21.8 billion, the largest U.S. IPO offering in history that surpasses Facebook’s $16 billion in 2012 and Visa’s $ 19.65 billion public offering in 2008.

Today’s IPO values Alibaba at $ 168 billion, higher than Amazon’s valuation of $ 150 billion, and the 36th largest publically traded company in the world by market capitalization, according to S & P Capital IQ.

Based in Hangzhou, a Silicon Valley type of tech hub in China, Alibaba Holding has a group of  e-commerce businesses including online retail and payment services, a shopping search engine, cloud computing services, and  business-to-business online web portals.

Founder Jack Ma is China’s richest man and could be among the top 20 richest men in the world after the IPO on Friday.

Last year Alibaba’s commerce based income was $5.4 billion for the first nine months of 2013 with annual revenue of 8.5 billion at year end on March 31st.

Nearly 40 institutions have placed orders for 1 billion in the company.

Shares of Alibaba were delayed after the opening bell on Friday.  Alibaba will be trading under the ticker BABA.

Questions have been raised about the style of corporate governance with Alibaba that has control of the company held by 30 insiders known as Alibaba Partnership who have the right to nominate candidates for the majority of the board seats.

Executive chairman Jack Ma and all the directors and executives under him hold around 20 percent of the combined shares in the company.

Based on the current corporate governance framework, Alibaba’s insiders may over time sell the remaining shares that they are holding although Alibaba’s governance style permits directors chosen by Alibaba Partnership to forever control the board despite the size of the stake that is held by members of the Partnership.

Alibaba’s early investors holding $8 billion in Alibaba shares are not subject to lock up rules that normally forbid shares from being sold immediately after an IPO.

-Johnathan Schweitzer

 

 

U.S. Dollar Climbs As Fed Signals Rate Hike in 2015

globThe U.S. dollar is climbing higher on Thursday against a basket of currencies, reaching a 6 month high against the Japanese yen as currency traders react to a mixture of comments of comments from Fed Chair Janet Yellen about raising interest rates next year.

Although Fed Chair Janet Yellen said yesterday that “the Committee’s expectations for the path of the federal funds rate are “contingent on the economic outlook” and rates hikes would not occur for a “considerable time,” Fed Committee members also signaled a faster rate hike in 2015 once it is undertaken by the central bank.

The median forecast for the benchmark rate near the end of 2015 was raised to 1.375 percent from June’s estimate of 1.125 percent.

-Johnathan Schweitzer

Waiting On The Fed; Interest Rate Hike In Focus

fED MINThe U.S. dollar is pushing higher against the euro and yen on Wednesday in trading ahead of the Federal Reserve’s rate decision followed by a press conference with Fed Chair Janet Yellen.

With the Fed’s quantitative easing program slowing down at a pace of $ 10 billion per month and set to officially end in October, the focus for the market has now shifted to the Fed’s interest rate policy with short term interest rates, another stimulus measure designed to help improve the U.S. economy.

Since December 2008 the Fed has continued to maintain the federal funds target of zero to 0.25 percent, historic lows meant to stimulate lending and business activity as the U.S. dollar weakens in the midst of accommodative actions undertaken with the Fed’s monetary policy.

Economists are expecting the Federal Reserve to raise short-term interest rates in 2015, either late in the first quarter (spring) or second quarter (summer) and will scrutinize the language contained in the upcoming Fed statement along with Fed Chair Janet Yellen’s follow up interview.

The widely cited “considerable time” statement could be used again in the upcoming statement for the Fed’s timeline or it may eliminated, suggesting a more hawkish tone and outlook.

But economists and investors alike will be looking to the Federal Reserve to provide some type of guidance and roadmap for the Fed’s policy with interest rates.

During the release of the Fed Minutes from the July FOMC meeting, Fed Committee members struck a more hawkish tone about the economy after acknowledging an improving job market and rising inflation that is moving closer to its 2 percent target.

“The Committee sees the risks to the outlook for economic activity and the labor market as nearly balanced and judges that the likelihood of inflation running persistently below 2 percent has diminished somewhat.”

However, Fed Committee members also pointed out that aspects of the labor market still remain weak and challenges persist with a slow recovery in the housing market that is largely uneven across the U.S.

Fed Committee members highlighted that a range of labor market indicators suggests that there remains “significant underutilization of labor resources” which could be a topic for further discussion from Fed Chair Janet Yellen in Wednesday’s interview with reporters.

The U.S. economy added only 142,000 non-farm payroll jobs in August, the smallest increase since December, falling lower than the average monthly gain of 212,000 over the past 12 months while the unemployment level was 6.1 percent.

China

On Wednesday China’s central bank added more stimulus by injecting $81 billion or 500 billion yuan into the country’s five largest banks as growth slows in the world’s second largest economy.

-Johnathan Schweitzer

China’s Growth Slows; Scotland’s Independence Vote, Fed Meeting Weighs on Market

Stock-MarketSlower than expected growth in China along with caution ahead of Scotland’s independence vote and the Federal Reserve’s two day meeting have investors on edge on Monday.

China’s economy was in the spotlight over the week-end after data from China’s Bureau of Statistics showed that Chinese industrial production growth in August slowed to its lowest level since December 2008, raising concerns about whether China can reach its annual GDP growth target of 7.5 percent as debate widens about the need for aggressive monetary stimulus to boost economic growth in the world’s second largest economy.

Industrial output grew 6.9 percent in August, missing consensus estimates, and falling well below 9.0 percent in July.

On Wednesday the Federal Reserve will conclude their 2 day FOMC meeting and issue a statement that will be followed by a press conference with Fed Chair Janet Yellen.

Investors will pay close attention to the style of language contained in the released statement along with Fed Chair Janet Yellen’s speech that broaches the topic of interest rates.

Short-term interest rates have been kept near zero since December 2008 during the depths of the recession to help spur lending, refinancing, and economic activity.

Aside from the disappointing U.S. jobs report for August that showed just 142,000 non-farm payroll jobs added to the economy, the overall U.S. economy and labor market has strengthened and many economists are questioning whether the Federal Reserve should keep holding short-term rates low instead of hiking rates and return to a period of normalization.

It is expected that the Federal Reserve will hike rates in 2015, either in the spring or summer.

The Fed’s quantitative easing program (QE), another form of monetary stimulus that has assisted the housing recovery and boosted stock markets, will end next month.

On Thursday Scottish voters will decide about achieving independence and separating from England.

If Scottish voters in favor of separating on their independence referendum, the outcome could inspire more secession movements across Europe, especially in areas such as Spain.

Nearly £17 billion has already been pulled out of Britain’s economy during the last month because of concerns about Scotland’s independence vote.

On Friday morning Wall Street’s biggest IPO is expected to occur with Alibaba, a Chinese e-commerce company.

Alibaba shares will be priced in the $60-66 range on the New York Stock Exchange but final pricing will be decided Thursday night.

Alibaba will sell 123 million new shares of the total 320 million shares. Yahoo has a 23 percent stake in Alibaba.

-Johnathan Schweitzer

Obama Appeals For Military Intervention Against Islamic State In Iraq and Syria

OBAMAPresident Obama appealed for expanded U.S. airstrikes in Iraq and neighboring Syria to degrade and destroy the threat posed by Islamic State militants and asked Americans to support his leadership during his State of the Union speech last night.

Sounding decisive and firm, Obama outlined the reasons the U.S. should continue its air assault against Islamic State, previously known as ISIL (Islamic State of Iraq and Levant), as regional powers in Damascus and Baghdad lack the political will and military capability to defeat the Islamic terrorist group that has removed major sections of the Iraq-Syria border, threatened religious minorities with genocide, and seized territory across northern Iraq.

Obama explained that ISIL poses a threat to the people of Iraq and Syria, and the broader Middle East — including American citizens, even though ISIL militants have not carried out attacks against major American targets except for the beheading of 2 captured American journalists during the last month that was aired on social media and resulted in stronger U.S. poll support for military campaigns against Islamic State targets.

The Iraqi military has struggled to combat Islamic State’s violence and seizure of strategic locations across northern and eastern Iraq, including the capture of Mosul in June, overtaking the Mosul Damn in August, and grabbing oilfields across Iraq.

The United States has responded by intervening militarily in Iraq through more than 150 successful airstrikes, pushing back Islamic State militants in the largely Kurdish regions of northern Iraq.

“These strikes have protected American personnel and facilities, killed ISIL fighters, destroyed weapons, and given space for Iraqi and Kurdish forces to reclaim key territory.  These strikes have also helped save the lives of thousands of innocent men, women and children,” Obama said.

Obama made it clear that  future military campaigns in the region will not involve American combat troops fighting on foreign soil.

“This counterterrorism campaign will be waged through a steady, relentless effort to take out ISIL wherever they exist, using our air power and our support for partner forces on the ground” Obama said.

A new Iraqi government was officially sworn in on September 8th after Iraq Prime Minister Maliki, a Shiite, stepped down last month amid allegations of corruption and mistreating Sunni Iraqis.

But the damage has already been done and many Iraqi Sunnis remain distrustful of the politics in Baghdad. Sunnis have asked for a more inclusive government that will represent the needs of Iraq’s discontent Sunni population as Sunni Islamic State fighters seek to gain control over Iraq through brutal force while waging another war in neighboring Syria against President Assad’s Alawite government that has strong support in Shiite Iran.

Obama said that America will be joined by a coalition of partners as it seeks to stop Islamic State’s advances in Iraq and Syria.

“Already, allies are flying planes with us over Iraq; sending arms and assistance to Iraqi security forces and the Syrian opposition; sharing intelligence; and providing billions of dollars in humanitarian aid.  Secretary Kerry was in Iraq today meeting with the new government and supporting their efforts to promote unity” Obama stated.

Obama pointed out that Secretary Kerry would also be traveling across the Middle East to gain more Arab support and enlist partners in the fight to push out the terrorists from their lands.

-Johnathan Schweitzer