With calls for United States military action in Iraq re-emerging in the wake of an incredible onslaught by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria in Iraq (ISIS) this past month, the integration of a military operations and diplomatic action again became a topic for debate in U.S. foreign policy circles. In particular, the role of humanitarian agencies and organizations in responding to such crises as those unfolding in Iraq and those already established in Africa and Syria has never been more important. These organizations, however, have been largely ineffective in addressing the needs of displaced persons, particularly and most evidently in the recent flight of civilians from Iraqi population centers such as Mosul.

In an effort to address the worsening crisis in Iraq, Secretary of State John Kerry visited Baghdad, reinforcing promises of administration officials that the U.S. will support Iraqi efforts to combat ISIS:

“The future of Iraq depends on decisions made in the next few days and weeks.” (Chelsea J. Carter, Hamdi Alkhshali and Susanna Capelouto, CNN, June 23)

Doubling-down on assurances that the U.S. would not leave Iraq to fight off the insurgency alone, Secretary Kerry went further in his remarks after meeting with top Iraqi national government leaders, foreshadowing the possibility of U.S. military action while stating: