DiplomacyJohn Kerry Hits the Middle East 03.26.13DiplomacyJohn Kerry Hits the Middle East Making surprise stops in Iraq and Afghanistan, Secretary of State John Kerry visited the Middle East this week to bolster U.S. relations in the area. See photos from his trip.03.26.13 12:23 AM ETJason Reed/Getty U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry boards an Air Force C-17 aircraft bound for Baghdad on Sunday, March 24. Jason Reed/AP Kerry arrives in Baghdad for an unannounced visit with Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, whom he urged to stop Iran from shipping arms to Syria through Iraqi airspace. Iraq had previously promised to inspect some of the flights but failed to stick to its word. JASON REED/AFP/Getty Kerry presses al-Maliki for Iraq's help with the conflict in Syria amid claims of waning American clout in Iraq barely a year after the departure of U.S. troops. Jason Reed/AP After nearly two hours of “spirited” discussions (Kerry’s words), the two leaders failed to reach a consensus to ensure Iranian flights over Iraq would not carry arms and fighters to Syria. Jason Reed/AP Kerry spoke to workers at the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad on Sunday, assuring them he made it clear to al-Maliki that the U.S. was displeased with the continued Iranian flights through Iraqi airspace into Syria. Jason Reed/AP The Vietnam War veteran huddles up for a picture with U.S. Marines at the American Embassy in Baghdad. Jason Reed/AP The Secretary of State walks to his helicopter on the grounds of the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad on Sunday after speaking to embassy employees. Jason Reed/AP Kerry and staff walk across the tarmac of Baghdad International Airport to board a plane out of the Iraqi capital Sunday. Jason Reed/AP Kerry straps himself into the cockpit as he prepares to leave Baghdad. Jason Reed/AP The Vietnam War vet greets members of the U.S. Air Force en route to Baghdad from Amman, Jordan, after meeting with Israeli and Palestinian leaders Saturday. Jason Reed/AP Kerry made another unannounced visit to the Middle East on Monday morning—this time to Afghanistan. Kerry is pictured here walking the grounds of the Presidential Palace in Kabul with Afghan Foreign Minister Zalmai Rassoul. Later, he tried to smooth things over with President Hamid Karzai, whose relationship with the U.S. has been strained of late. Jason Reed/AP Kerry and Karzai made a show of unity Monday, shortly after the U.S. military ceded control of its last detention facility in Afghanistan, thus ending a longstanding irritant in relations between the two countries. Kerry said he and Karzai were “on the same page” regarding peace talks with the Taliban.