As more of Iraq is lost to Sunni forces, US Secretary of State John Kerry has pledged America’s “intense and sustained” support for the country’s security forces.
He offered some 300 US advisers to help coordinate the fight against an Islamist uprising that has swept through the north and west of Iraq.
However he has not yet granted Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s request for air strikes.
Kerry spoke from Baghdad and called once more for the Shi’ite Muslim-led government to become more inclusive.
“The future of Iraq depends primarily on the ability of Iraq’s leaders to come together and take a stand, united against ISIL,” he said. “Not next week, not next month, but now,” he said.
Since withdrawing its troops from Iraq in 2011, the US has been struggling to help contain a Sunni insurgency lead by al-Qaeda offshoot the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.
Washington says it is worried Maliki’s government may have aggravated the uprising by alienating moderate Sunnis who once fought against al-Qaeda.