US Carter visits Iraq to accelerate fight against DAESH

US Secretary of Defense Carter unexpectedly visits Iraq to seek new strategies in fight against DAESH in Iraq and Syria

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter speaks during a joint news conference following a meeting with his British counterpart Michael Fallon at the Pentagon in Washington December 11, 2015.

The United States Secretary of Defense Ash Carter said on Wednesday that they could not reach an agreement with Iraqi officials to use Apache helicopters or additional military advisers in the battle to retake the key city of Ramadi, the capital of Anbar province, against DAESH terrorist group.

Following his meeting with Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al Abadi and other officials, Carter said if military conditions change, the US is ready to support the fight against DASEH.

Recently the Obama administration has been talking about “accelerating” the fight against DAESH, however the presence of the US military is seen reluctant by the Abadi administration, such as Apache helicopters and more troops. 

"This is a very complex environment that we're operating in and we have to be attentive to some of the political realities that surround us every single day," said Lt. Gen. Sean MacFarland, top US military commander in the fight against DAESH.

"It's kind of hard to inflict support on somebody. So we try to provide support."

MacFarland, speaking to reporters at Baghdad’s International Airport said that there are disaccords in fighting against DAESH and military support “has to be consistent with the way Iraqi security forces fight."

Carter, referring to MacFarland and Abadi’s meeting there is no military need for the Apaches now, but he said that this does not mean they will not make a difference “sometime in the future.”

He also stated the importance of Iraq’s independence saying that "Everything we do ... here is subject to the approval of the sovereign Iraqi government," Carter said. "And I also wanted to emphasize to you, the respect for sovereignty and for Iraq's territorial sovereignty is a principle that the United States strongly supports in every context."

Abadi, stressing the progress of Iraqi forces against DAESH, said that "I think we are on the verge of breaking the back of DAESH."

However, Col. Steve Warren US commander and spokesman based in Baghdad noted that many Iraqi officials “don't agree with the American presence in this country.”

Carter also said that -without giving further information- they have talked about a new special commando force to Iraq that will share intelligence to capture and kill DAESH leaders that named “expeditionary targeting force.”

Recently, the US-led Combined Joint Task Force (CJTF) under Operation Inherent Resolve and Iraqi forces are focusing to retake Ramadi which DAESH took city in May.

On his comments, prior to meeting Carter, Abadi indirectly said that he offered progress in Ramadi, the oil refining city of Beiji.

“I think we are on the verge of breaking the back of DAESH, I hope, on this end…at least,” he said adding “Our progress in Ramadi is a huge progress and added to it the progress in Beiji. And we are moving up north at the moment, we are trying to concentrate our position.”

Warren said that Iraqi forces lost ground in the region, but eventually regain the territory and beat back the terrorists with the help from CJTF.

On the other hand Carter discusses new ways of contribution of coalition members to the campaign, which he offers 3,500 new US troops to take more specialised roles.

TRTWorld and agencies