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In an unexpected move on Thursday, Iran has stepped forward to offer assistance to Iraq, who is struggling to stop the forward march of Sunni militants eyeing a takeover of Baghdad. The United States has also said they will offer support.
With the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) having already taken control of two northern cities, Mosul and Tikrit, Iran has sent 150 elite Quds soldiers from the Revolutionary Guard, reports Fox News. Commander Qassem Suleimani spoke with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and said another 10,000 troops could be made available.
With the United States not currently willing to conduct airstrikes against the militants and has refused to provide much in the way of assistance before now, Iraq is likely considering the olive branch extended by their historical foe.
According to The Associated Press, the Obama administration is currently weighing a possible military response, but officials ruled out any chance soldiers will be sent.
Former vice chief of staff and retired four-star Gen. Jack Keane said, "My sources tell me Maliki believes he is in a desperate situation and wants and needs our support. If he doesn't get it in a way that will help him, he will certainly turn to Iran."
ISIS managed to capture Mosul over the weekend, as the Sunni militants continue to solidify their grip on the northern province of Nineveh.
Civilians and Iraqi soldiers alike fled the city as the insurgent forces spread inside and captured many key buildings. A fleeing soldier, Haidar, commented, "They took control of everything, and they are everywhere."