US still has key role in Iraq - Dempsey

2012-08-21 19:46
Martin Dempsey. (AFP)

Martin Dempsey. (AFP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

kalahari.com

Baghdad - Top US military officer General Martin Dempsey landed in Baghdad on Tuesday, insisting that Washington still had an important role to play in Iraq eight months after American troops departed.

Dempsey, who is due to meet with Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki and Iraqi army chief of staff Babaker Zebari, is the highest-ranking American to visit Iraq since the December 2011 pullout.

Dempsey, the chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, said in an interview that the United States still had a role in Iraq, but under much different circumstances.

"We still retain significant investment and significant influence. But now it's on the basis of a partnership and not on the basis of ownership," Dempsey, who served in Iraq as a commander during the war, said before landing in Baghdad.

Defence

Dempsey, who was last in Iraq in December 2011, stressed that he came to build a dialogue with his Iraqi counterparts and explore expanding military ties, not to make demands.

Iraqi officials, notably Zebari, have said that while the country's security forces are capable of maintaining internal security, they will not be able to fully defend the country's borders, waters or airspace until 2020.

The US, which at one point had nearly 170 000 troops stationed in Iraq in the years following the 2003 invasion, now has fewer than 200 soldiers in the country under the authority of the US embassy, charged with helping train Iraqi forces on new military equipment.

The four-star general said he would not press the Iraqi government on reports that it may be allowing Iran to ferry supplies to the Syrian regime, which has been fighting a 17-month uprising, through Iraqi territory or helping Tehran circumvent financial sanctions.

Without knowledge


"I don't go to Baghdad with an expectation that the prime minister will change his talking points just because I've arrived in Baghdad," he said.

"I don't intend to ask him specifically about whether they are taking any active role in the Syrian situation."

But he said it was possible that weapons or other supplies could be smuggled across the desert of western Iraq without the direction of the Baghdad government.

"It is not inconceivable that there are things going on the western edge of Iraq that the central government may lack knowledge of. That's absolutely feasible."

"It's also possible that they are using that expanse for some purpose."

"I don't know if that's going to come up in my conversation today."

Rocket attack


Iraqi officials have warned multiple times in recent months that al-Qaeda fighters were likely crossing the 600km border with Syria, and have bolstered border security.

They have also denied helping Iran skirt international sanctions, insisting that any relations with the Islamic republic were public and transparent.

Dempsey arrived from Afghanistan, where his C-17 aircraft was damaged by an insurgent rocket attack on the tarmac overnight at Bagram air base, forcing the general to use another plane for his trip to the Iraqi capital.

Earlier on his tour Dempsey said that he believed Iraqi leaders wanted to bolster relations with the American military.

Asked about the rocket attack at Bagram, Dempsey smiled and shrugged, saying perhaps it was a "lucky shot" by the Taliban.

Read more on:    al-qaeda  |  martin dempsey  |  iraq
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
2 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
 
Traffic
Lottery
 
  • Wednesday Delft - 20:37 PM
    Road name: R300 Southbound
    ROADWORKS - left lane closed at Hindle Road
  • Wednesday Sir Lowry's Pass - 17:57 PM
    Road name: Old Sir Lowrys Pass Road
    TRAFFIC LIGHTS not working at Bezweni Road
 
More traffic reports...
 

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Escape winter, head to Mauritius

Escape winter by spending 7 nights in Mauritius' tropical bliss from R13 215 per person sharing. Includes return flights, airport transfers and accommodation. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Get many eggs in one basket!

Gaming bundles: 2 Super Hits games for R99, 3 Disney games for R99 and more + exclusive accessory bundles only available on kalahari.com. While stocks last. Shop now!

25% off bestselling books!

The Real Meal Revolution by Tim Noakes, Jeffrey Archer’s Be Careful What You Wish for, Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor E. Frank and many more titles. Shop now!

Up to 25% off electronics

Buy top electronics and save up to 25%. Such as kalahari.com’s 1# selling product the gobii eReader, Patriot X Porter flash drive, Asus Nexus 7” 3G tablet, Samsung Galaxy SIII, Lenovo G580 Notebook and many more. Shop now!

DStv HD PVR Decoder now R949

The DStv HD PVR Decoder has further revolutionised the television experience with lifelike viewing, sharper images, more vibrant colours and precision picture quality. Now R949, save R550. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 30% off appliances & homeware

Save up to 30% on appliances and homeware this Easter! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now.

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

BlackBerry Curve 9360

The BlackBerry Curve 9360 smartphone comes preloaded with Blackberry OS7...

From R1595.00

I'm shopping for:

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

You may find yourself fascinated by something which could draw you in to obsessively exploring this subject in depth....read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.