Kerry Asks Iraq to Stop Syria Arms Flow
Secretary of State John F. Kerry used an unannounced visit to Iraq on Sunday to lobby Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki for greater scrutiny of flights the United States claims carry Iranian weapons and fighters across Iraq to Syria.
The Obama administration has been unable to persuade Iraq to block such flights or even to perform regular inspections. Iraq claims that Iranian flights over its territory carry only humanitarian supplies for the civil war in next-door Syria, and the only two known inspections of Iranian aircraft showed only those supplies.
The United States claims that the sheer volume of flights crossing Iraq points to regular arms shipments. A senior U.S. official traveling with Kerry said there are flights nearly every day. The official would not say how the United States is certain the planes are carrying weapons for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, an Iranian ally, but repeatedly asserted that is the case.