NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen, front left, speaks with U.S. President Barack Obama, front right, as they arrives for a group photo during a NATO summit on the grounds of the Celtic Manor Resort in Newport, Wales on Thursday, Sept. 4.
Jon Super—AP
September 4, 2014 9:25 AM EDT

NATO Secretary-General Andesr Fogh Rasmussen said Thursday that the alliance would consider containing Islamist militants in Iraq if the Iraqi government requested NATO’s help.

“I’m sure that if the Iraqi government were to forward a request for NATO assistance, that would be considered seriously by NATO allies,” Rasmussen said on Thursday, according to the Associated Press.

NATO leaders, including U.S. President Barack Obama, are in Wales for a summit to plan the winding down of operations in Afghanistan and respond to the crisis in Ukraine. But Obama and British Prime Minister David Cameron wrote in the Times of London on Thursday that their countries will “not be cowed” by the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria, the militant group that has seized parts of northern Iraq and killed at least two American journalists.

Rasmussen said the international community “has an obligation to stop the Islamic State from advancing further,” though NATO leaders have so far not proposed specific joint action, according to the AP.

The U.S. has launched limited strikes against ISIS in Iraq, and Obama has said he is considering expanding military operations against ISIS to Syria.


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