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John Kerry in Baghdad: U.S. Won't Let ISIS 'Evil' Spread in Iraq

In a short visit Wednesday, the top U.S. diplomat will urge Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi to take quick steps to ease sectarian tensions.

Secretary of State John Kerry said Wednesday that Washington would not stand by and watch while the brutal extremists terrorizing Iraq continued to spread their "evil." Kerry made the comments during a visit to Baghdad in which he pledged the U.S.'s support in the fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS), hours before a key address by Barack Obama that Kerry said would outline "with great specificity" the U.S. strategy to combat the militants. While Kerry referred reporters to Obama’s upcoming speech for the details, he said Washington's strategy "won’t just be bombs," but rather at a broader approach that could involve "nearly every country on Earth."

Iraq "had not asked for American forces on the ground," Kerry said, adding that Iran’s military involvement in the conflict was just "collateral." The U.S. "does not coordinate or cooperate with Iran militarily and has no intention of doing so in the future," he said. Kerry also reiterated his praise for Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi after their first major meeting, calling the formation of his inclusive government "truly historic." The secretary of state is on a tour of the Mideast designed to drum up support for a coalition to combat ISIS, a group he described as the "manifestation of evil.” Kerry's visit falls on the eve of a U.S.-Arab nation meeting on defeating ISIS militants. He said that 40 counties had already been involved in the push and that "nearly every country on earth could have a part." Earlier on Wednesday he met al-Abadi in the presidential palace where Saddam Hussein once held court. As Kerry and al-Abadi met, two car bombs exploded in Baghdad.



- Alexander Smith

The Associated Press contributed to this report.