MESOP : MALIKI’S DILEMMA – Iraq Signals Openness to U.S. Airstrikes Against Al Qaeda, U.S. Officials Say

By Adam Entous  & Julian E. Barnes – Wall Street Journal  –  2014-06-12 01:12 GMT – WASHINGTON — Iraq has privately signaled to the Obama administration that it would allow the U.S. to conduct airstrikes with drones or manned aircraft against al Qaeda militant targets on Iraqi territory, senior U.S. officials said Wednesday.

The Obama administration is considering a number of options, including the possibility of providing “kinetic support” for the Iraqi military fighting al Qaeda rebels who seized two major cities north of Baghdad this week, according to a senior U.S. official who added that no decisions have been made.Officials declined to say whether the U.S. would consider conducting airstrikes with drones or manned aircraft. Iraq has long asked the U.S. to provide it with drones that could be used in such strikes, but Washington has balked at supplying them, officials said.