U.S. Defence Chief In Iraq To Discuss Fight Against IS | Independent Newspapers Limited
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U.S. Defence Chief In Iraq To Discuss Fight Against IS

Posted: Apr 18, 2016 at 11:24 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

US Secretary of Defence Ashton Carter made an unannounced visit to Baghdad on Monday for talks with Iraqi officials on the war against the Islamic State jihadist group.

Carter’s visit comes after a week of political turmoil that has been a setback for Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, and the US defence chief has said it is important to support the embattled premier.

The US is leading an international coalition that is carrying out strikes against IS and also providing training and other assistance to forces fighting the jihadists in both Iraq and neighbouring Syria.

Carter will meet officials including Abadi and Defence Minister Khaled al-Obeidi to discuss increasing American military assistance to Iraq ahead of the key battle for second city Mosul.

“The fight for Mosul is critical… and it’s a very large urban scenario,” a senior defence official said.

“We are going to need to be more aggressive,” the official said.

Carter arrived in Baghdad from the United Arab Emirates, the first stop on a Gulf tour during which he will seek to shore up support for Iraq.

He has said that “the success of the campaign against (IS) in Iraq does depend upon political and economic progress as well,” and that “it’s important that we continue to support” Abadi.

The premier has sought to replace the current cabinet of party-affiliated ministers with a government of technocrats, but has faced major opposition from powerful parties that rely on control of ministries for patronage and funds.

Abadi’s cabinet efforts were overshadowed by multiple days of chaos at parliament, where lawmakers held a sit-in, brawled in the parliament hall and sought to sack the speaker.