- The Washington Times - Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Obama administration officials said Tuesday they are ready to boost economic and military aid to Iraq if Baghdad forms a new, more diverse government.

Secretary of State John F. Kerry and Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, in Australia for diplomatic talks, said the additional support would stop short of combat troops.

“The U.S. does stand ready to fully support a new inclusive Iraqi government,” Mr. Kerry said. “Without any question we are prepared to consider additional political, economic and security options as Iraq starts to build a new government.”

The administration is offering more money and military backing for the new government in its fight against militants of the Islamic State, which controls large swaths of territory in northern Iraq. The U.S. wants prime minister designate Haider al-Ibadi to form a new government quickly to replace Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, who is refusing to step down.

“As a new government takes shape we would consider further requests from that new government,” Mr. Hagel said.

President Obama called Mr. Ibadi Monday to congratulate him, calling his nomination a first step forward to resolving the crisis.