Kerry bids for Arab anti-IS front buoyed by new Iraq govt

US Secretary of State John Kerry delivers remarks to the media on the formation of the Iraqi government at the US Department of State in Washington, DC, on September 8, 2014US Secretary of State John Kerry headed to the Middle East Tuesday bidding for a broad coalition against Islamic State jihadists, buoyed by the “milestone” of a new Iraqi government. Kerry’s visit comes on the eve of a keenly awaited speech by President Barack Obama in which he has promised to set out a comprehensive strategy to defeat the jihadists who have seized swathes of Iraq and neighbouring Syria, unleashing atrocities that have shocked the world. The Iraqi army’s campaign to claw back the territory it lost in the Sunni Arab heartland north and west of Baghdad in June — and US efforts to engage Sunni Muslim governments in the fightback — have been complicated by the sectarian politics of the region. Saudi Arabia and other Gulf Arab states had deeply strained relations with the Shiite-led government in Baghdad, with each side blaming the other for the advance of the jihadists.

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