Iraq official appeals for more aid to fight ISIS

2015-02-09 21:29

Dubai - The US-led coalition helping Iraq push back Islamic State group militants is not doing enough to match the scale of the threat, a senior Iraqi official said Monday as he called for increased firepower to defeat the extremists.

Speaking to The Associated Press on the sidelines of a conference in Dubai, Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Saleh al-Mutlaq said the coalition "should be more serious, more effective" in its fight.

"I don't think that the intervention of this coalition is serious enough compared with what we see from the strength of ISIS," he said, using an alternative name for the group.

Coalition warplanes have been pounding Islamic State group positions in both Iraq and neighbouring Syria with airstrikes for months. The United States alone has flown roughly 900 combat missions over Iraq since August. Several coalition countries also have sent military advisers, weapons and other assistance to Iraq.

Al-Mutlaq said more must be done.

"We would welcome any help which does not contradict with the independence of the country, and any help which unites the society and [does] not divide the society in Iraq," he said.

Asked for specifics on what Iraq needs, he replied: "Airstrikes and weapons. ...More advanced than what Daesh has now," he added, using an Arabic acronym for the group.

Shi'ite powerhouse Iran, which is not part of the US-led coalition, has carried out airstrikes inside Iraq too. It also is providing Iraq with weapons and military advisers, deepening its ties to its neighbour and Shi'ite militias there.

Saudi Arabia and other Gulf Arab states, like the US and Israel, are wary of Iran's influence.

Those concerned about Tehran's role in Iraq "should come and help the Iraqis in order to limit that interference", al-Mutlaq said.

Al-Mutlaq is one of the most senior figures from Iraq's Sunni minority in Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi's Shi'ite-led government. Al-Abadi last month praised the coalition's air campaign while complaining that commitments to train and equip Iraqi troops were slow to come, telling AP that "we are in this almost on our own".

  • John Smith - 2015-02-10 09:25

    Saleh al-Mutlaq is absolutely right. Aircraft bombings (very expensive way to fight) were practically useless. Billions of dollars are spent for nothing. While Obama is making another plan how to fight with ISIS, terrorists become even stronger, they get new weapons and followers. Now problem is too big to be solved with a little blood. This is another presidential fail of Obama.

  • Rust Brown - 2015-02-10 09:38

    I would be glad if we could do something else apart from airstrikes. Unfortunately Obama has already received a reputation of a man who cannot be trusted and therefore it is quite likely he is not getting Congress approvement. Sad there are innocent civilians out there suffering from radical scum because of our debility.

  • Liza Schwartz - 2015-02-10 10:41

    What is Obama wants to achieve?? Regain the trust and then to ISIS attacked Iraq?? Obama had lost credibility. Plan to combat, only gives strength to a terrorist group, not more ...

  • ?????? ????? - 2015-02-10 13:48

    I'd like to see an "Allegiance" to the coalition, sworn to by Iraq's Army that they are not IS, not defending IS, upholding IS, not giving away weapons to IS, etc. To much of Iraq - the ex-Baath leadership and IS young ones are too, too connected to the Iraqi Army to be considered a good idea. How great to ask for weapons to fight IS, in turn to lay them down and hand them off to IS. No thanks.

  • Jude Ricceur - 2015-02-10 22:03

    The Govt of the United States hoped that the help of its allies will be better. In fact, Turkey and Saudi Arabia aren't interested in this help. They have their own interests in this region and they don't want to risk with their status there

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