US monitoring reports of political turmoil in Iraq

U.S. officials are “closely monitoring” developments in Iraq amid reports of political turmoil in Baghdad and are in touch with Iraqi leaders.


“The United States fully supports President Fuad Masum in his role as guarantor of the Iraqi Constitution,” State Department Deputy spokeswoman Marie Harf said in a statement.

“We reaffirm our support for a process to select a Prime Minister who can represent the aspirations of the Iraqi people by building a national consensus and governing in an inclusive manner. We reject any effort to achieve outcomes through coercion or manipulation of the constitutional or judicial process,” Harf added.

Special forces loyal to Prime Minster Nouri al-Maliki deployed in Baghdad after he indicated in a speech he would not drop a bid for a third term, police sources told Reuters.

An eyewitness told the news service that a tank was stationed at the entrance to Baghdad's Green Zone, which houses government buildings.

“The United States stands ready to support a new and inclusive government, particularly in the fight against ISIL,” Harf said. “We believe such a new and inclusive government is the best way to unify the country against ISIL, and to enlist the support of other countries in the region and international community.”

President Obama announced last week that he had authorized the U.S. military to conduct the targeted airstrikes to aid Kurdish fighters and refugees under siege in northern Iraq from the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), which has taken over vast areas of Iraq and Syria.

The White House has been pressing for Baghdad’s Shiite-led government to work with other groups in Iraq and form a new government, and Obama reiterated his contention that the U.S. military could not provide a lasting resolution to the unrest.

—This report was updated on April 11 at 6:40 a.m.