Friday, June 27, 2014

Obama Administration Deepens U.S. Role in Syria and Iraq

Funding and Arming Fighters Presents Risks, Officials Say

By Jay Solomon And Carol E. Lee
June 27, 2014 6:49 p.m. ET

PARIS—The Obama administration ended the week deeply immersed in stemming crises in Iraq and Syria as it launches a new strategy that American and Arab officials acknowledge could be risky for the U.S. and its closest Mideast allies.

Days of high-stakes Middle East diplomacy on a trip Secretary of State John Kerry completed Friday, combined with a $500 million plan for supporting Syrian rebels announced the day before by the White House, outline a markedly expanded U.S. role in the region's chaotic security and political landscape.

A primary risk for the administration is that much of the strategy rests on the removal of Iraq's Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki from office, an outcome that remains deeply uncertain, according to these officials, as Baghdad embarks next week on the task of picking a new national government.

(More here.)

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