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Iraqi prime minister requests more support in fight against Islamic State

Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi reportedly called the Islamic State advance a "failure" of the world.

By Fred Lambert
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Iraqi prime minister requests more support in fight against Islamic State
Iraqi Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi addresses the press after a conference of global coalition partners intended to counter advances by the Islamic State (ISIS) at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Paris on June 2, 2015. Photo by David Silpa/UPI | License Photo

PARIS, June 2 (UPI) -- Iraq's prime minister on Tuesday said his country needs more support than it is currently receiving from the international community to fight the Islamic State, according to reports.

Speaking at a 22-nation security conference in Paris, Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said the IS advance into Iraq was "a failure on the part of the world," the BBC reports. "There is a lot of talk of support for Iraq, [but] there is very little on the ground."

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The comments come as IS forces hold the city of Ramadi, capital of the Sunni-populated Anbar province west of Baghdad. IS militants last month sent Iraqi soldiers, police officers and allied tribal fighters fleeing from the city, while the group made gains in neighboring Syria, recently capturing the ancient ruins of Palmyra and the last government-held border crossing into Iraq.

"Air support is not enough," the Los Angeles Times quoted Abadi as saying Tuesday. "There is too little surveillance. [IS forces are] mobile and move in very small groups."

Meanwhile, the BBC quoted U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Antony Blinken, standing in for recently injured Secretary of State John Kerry, as saying airstrikes and support for Iraqi ground forces are "the winning strategy," though he predicted it would be a "long campaign."

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Abadi complained that sanctions against Russia and Iran have made it more difficult for Iraq to obtain sufficient weaponry. He added, however, that he had received fresh commitments from allies, including a U.S. shipment of anti-tank rockets to Iraq and pledges to combat the inflow of foreign fighters and the means by which IS finances its operations, such as the illegal trade of petroleum and antiquities.

Also agreed upon, Abadi said, was a plan to quickly retake Ramadi. Baghdad says thousands of Sunni tribal fighters will be a part of the operation, but the Shia Arab-dominated government gave orders to mobilize Shia militias known as popular mobilization forces after Ramadi fell last month.

Along with coalition airstrikes, the Iran-trained Shia militias were instrumental in the Iraqi government's recapture of Tikrit earlier this year, but they had to be withdrawn after reports emerged of looting, arson and illegal killings in the mainly Sunni Arab city.

The Paris conference comes a day after an IS suicide bombing of a police base in Anbar province killed at least 30 officers and 15 Iranian military advisers, the BBC reports.

Russia, along with Syria and Iran, two nations fighting IS forces, did not attend the conference.

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