Kerry Warns Of New Challenge In Securing Iraq After Isis

Kerry Warns Of New Challenge In Securing Iraq After Isis

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said on Wednesday (July 20) that the battlefield momentum in Iraq and Syria has shifted against the Islamic State (ISIS) but the international community must now also confront the challenge of stabilizing newly liberated areas.

"The momentum has shifted," Kerry told an international conference to raise funds for Iraq. "The new challenge that we face is securing and aiding for the recovery of a liberated area."

Lise Grande, the United Nations' humanitarian coordinator for Iraq, warned that without addressing the needs of Iraqis displaced by the conflict, military victories will prove transient.

"The military campaign will have achieved a great short-term success, but perhaps little else of enduring impact," she said.

The officials were speaking as defense and foreign ministers gathered in Washington to raise funding for Iraq and to agree on next steps in the fight against ISIS, in particular the militant group's bastion in Mosul.

Kerry said the goal of the pledging session was to raise at least $2 billion in new aid for Iraq to help communities get back on their feet once ISIS militants have been driven out.

The battle for Mosul is expected to be difficult, but the aftermath could be tougher, Iraqi, United Nations and U.S. officials say. Plans are still being finalized to provide urgent humanitarian aid and restore basic services and security for residents and as many as 2.4 million displaced people. Defense ministers of the U.S.-led coalition against ISIS were also meeting at Joint Base Andrews outside Washington, followed by a joint session of foreign and defense chiefs on Thursday to discuss the broader fight against ISIS not only in Syria and Iraq, but also Libya and recent attacks in Europe.

The U.N. estimates that under a worst-case scenario, more than 1 million people could be displaced from Mosul and another 830,000 from a populated corridor south of the city, adding to the burden of caring for 3.5 million Iraqis already displaced.