US Won't Return to Iraq Despite al Qaeda Fight
The Iraqi government has lost control of Fallujah and Ramadi to al Qaeda even as the military launched a major offensive against the group.
But the United States will not send troops to help this time.
Inside Iraq's Anbar province, masked terrorists brandishing guns and rocket-propelled grenades and chanting ''God is great'' have vowed to punish anyone who supports the Iraqi government.
Will the violence in Iraq will spread to other areas of the Middle East? CBN News Terrorism Analyst Erick Stakelbeck has more on al Qaeda's influence in the region, on CBN Newswatch, Jan. 6.
"The revolutionaries of Fallujah tribes have resolved to punish those, the covetous, who are linked to the sectarian government," a member of the Fallujah Military Council said.
The group known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant has steadily gained control of the province. They want to create an Islamic state near Syria's border.
"The most dangerous thing is that they are able to call fighters together and launch suicide attacks at any time," political analyst Tarek Abud said.
The al Qaeda-affiliated militants are also active in Syria, and experts fear the group's threat may spread beyond the region.
"The international community does not understand yet the danger of Daash (ISIL). They don't know how easy for it spread into Europe and Asia," Saad Al-Muttalibi, an anti-terrorism expert, said.
The Iraqi government is on the verge of trying to retake both cities. The country's defense ministry released footage showing reported al Qaeda holdouts being bombed.
Iraq's prime minister urged residents of Fallujah to kick the terrorists out of their neighborhoods as the army surrounds the city preparing for a potential offensive.
Iraq's close Shia ally Iran, has offered to help fight al Qaeda.
Meanwhile, Secretary of State John Kerry said the United States will help Iraq but won't send in troops to fight the terrorists.
"That is exactly what the president and the world decided some time ago when we left Iraq, so we are not obviously contemplating returning," Kerry said.
"We are not contemplating putting boots on the ground. This is their fight," he said. "We will help them in their fight, but this fight, in the end, they will have to win and I am confident they can."
Thirty-four people have so far died in government air strikes against the terrorists.