Kerry to Iraq: Stop Weapons to Syria
US continues to push Iraq to inspect Iranian flights
By Polly Davis Doig,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 24, 2013 10:10 AM CDT
US Secretary of State John Kerry leaves after meeting with Iraq's Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, left, in Baghdad, Iraq, Sunday, March 24, 2013.   (AP Photo/Jason Reed, Pool)
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(Newser) – John Kerry dropped in unannounced on Iraq today, the first visit by an American secretary of state in four years, and he used the opportunity to continue prodding Nouri al-Maliki to slow the Iranian weapons that flow through his skies and into the hands of Syria's Bashar al-Assad. “We had a very spirited discussion,” Kerry said, “and I made it very clear to the prime minister that the overflights from Iran are in fact helping to sustain President Assad and his regime.” The US wants Iran's near-daily flights either banned or forced to land in Iraq for inspection, notes the Washington Post.

Hillary Clinton last year exacted a promise from Baghdad to inspect the flights; only two have been inspected in the interim. Maliki has proven prickly on the subject, adds the AP, refusing inspections on the grounds that the planes carry humanitarian supplies. Kerry warned that America is eying the aid it sends Baghdad, and "increasingly watching what Iraq is doing and wondering how it is a partner."