Drone strikes, talks with Iran on the table to deal with Iraq crisis: John Kerry

Even as the US weighs options to tackle the recent crisis in Iraq, Secretary of State John Kerry on Monday hinted that drone strikes were not off the table and that America may as well talk to Iran in order to check the Sunni militants` advance towards Baghdad.

By Supriya Jha | Last Updated: Jun 16, 2014, 20:16 PM IST

Zee Media Bureau

Washington: Even as the US weighs options to tackle the recent crisis in Iraq, Secretary of State John Kerry on Monday hinted that drone strikes were not off the table and that America may as well talk to Iran in order to check the Sunni militants` advance towards Baghdad.

Speaking in an interview to Yahoo News, Kerry said that President Barack Obama was going through all the available options and drone strikes is one of them.

The drones might not be the "whole answer, but they may well be one of the options that are important to be able to stem the tide and stop the movement of people who are moving around in open convoys and trucks and terrorizing people,” said Kerry.

On possible cooperation with Iran, Kerry said that he US was “open to any constructive process here that could minimize the violence, hold Iraq together, the integrity of the country and eliminate the presence of outside terrorist forces that are ripping it apart."

But he refrained from making any other statements before talks with Iran saying, "Let`s see what Iran might or might not be willing to do before we start making any pronouncements."

US and Iran do not have diplomatic ties but a US official reportedly said that the US might broach the Iraq crisis issue during the nuclear talks with Iran in Vienna.

Weary of a long costly war in Iraq, US President Barack Obama has ruled out sending combat US troops to Iraqi soil, but is weighing options on how to tackle the recent crisis in Iraq. 

However, the US has sent its aircraft carrier USS George HW Bush to the Gulf along with the guided-missile cruiser USS Philippine Sea and the guided-missile destroyer USS Truxtun. 

Also, given the escalation of crisis, the United States has decided to evacuate some staff from its heavily fortified embassy in Baghdad.

ISIS militants carried out a drastic takeover of two strategic Iraqi towns last week, capturing Mosul and Tikrit and are continuing their onslaught even as Iraqi forces claim to have retake many town from the rebels.

Today, the Sunni militants of ISIS captured another town Tal Afar north of Baghdad. 

A corridor for militants to access Syria, Tal Afar is said to be another strategically significant town taken by militants. 

A tweet from an ISIS twitter account said that 1700 Shia Iraqi forces had been massacred. 

Adding to the gruesomeness, the militants also posted some graphic photos of soldiers` execution on jihadist forums that showed masked Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) gunmen loading the soldiers onto trucks and then forcing them to lie face-down in a shallow ditch with their arms behind their backs. They also posted disturbing images of the bodies of the captured soldiers covered in blood after being shot by the ISIL members.  

Though the photos` authenticity has not been verified yet, if confirmed to be genuine, it will be the most fierce crisis since the bloodshed of 2006-07 that was followed by US invasion of Iraq in 2003.