Kurds Take Kirkuk; ISIS Advances Toward Baghdad

Iraq was on the brink of disintegration Thursday as al-Qaeda-inspired fighters swept through northern Iraq toward Baghdad and Kurdish soldiers seized the city of Kirkuk without a fight.

Lawmakers gathered at the Iraqi parliament to discuss the declaration of a state of emergency, a day after Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki assured Iraqis that the insurgents’ gains were temporary and would soon be reversed by the Iraqi army.

But after the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) captured fresh territory and set its sights on Baghdad, Iraq seemed to be fast slipping out of government control.

In Washington, President Obama expressed concern about the situation and said Iraq is “going to need more help from us” and from the international community. He said his administration was trying to determine the most effective type of assistance.

“I don’t rule out anything, because we do have a stake in making sure that these jihadists are not getting a permanent foothold in either Iraq or Syria,” Obama told reporters after a White House meeting with visiting Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott. . .

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