French defence chief in Iraq for anti-ISIS talks

2016-04-11 19:52


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

Baghdad - French Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian arrived in Baghdad on Monday on an unannounced visit for talks with Iraqi officials on the war against the Islamic State jihadist group.

Le Drian discussed the campaign against ISIS, in which France is playing a major role, with President Fuad Masum and parliament speaker Salim al-Juburi, their offices said in statements.

He also met with Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi and Defence Minister Khalid al-Obeidi.

ISIS claimed attacks in Paris that killed 130 people in November last year and there is concern that the jihadists will strike the country again.

Belgium's federal prosecutor has said a jihadist cell that attacked the Brussels airport and a metro station last month, killing 32 people, initially planned to target France.

France is part of a US-led coalition that is carrying out air strikes against IS and providing training and other assistance to Iraqi and Syrian forces.

According to the French military, France has carried out more than 580 strikes against ISIS, destroying over 1 000 targets.

The country carries out 15% of coalition air operations, and it has around 350 soldiers deployed to Iraq.

Le Drian, who arrived in Baghdad from Kuwait where he met his counterpart, will also visit French troops during his trip to Iraq.

The United States has carried out the majority of coalition strikes and has deployed about 3 900 military personnel to the country, including special forces carrying out raids against ISIS.

The jihadist group overran large areas north and west of Baghdad in June 2014, but Iraqi forces have since regained ground with backing from the coalition.

ISIS still controls significant territory in western Iraq and holds major areas in neighbouring Syria.

Le Drian's visit comes just days after US Secretary of State John Kerry vowed during a trip to Baghdad that the coalition and Iraq would turn up the heat on IS after the jihadists suffered a string of losses.

But while the jihadists are on the defensive, they are still able to carry out frequent bombings targeting civilians and security forces in government-held areas.

In addition to major security challenges, Iraq has also been hit by an economic crisis caused by slumping oil prices, and political tensions over efforts to replace the current cabinet.

Abadi has called for "fundamental" change to the cabinet so that it includes "professional and technocratic figures and academics", and presented a list of nominees to parliament last week.

But powerful Iraqi parties and politicians rely on control of ministries for patronage and funds, and lawmakers said the political blocs are nominating other candidates.

Officials have said a vote on new candidates could take place on Tuesday, but the end result may be a variation on the current system of party-affiliated ministers.

Read more on:    isis  |  iraq  |  belgium  |  us  |  france

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

Inside News24


Man scores date with tennis superstar after Twitter bet

It’s a modern day Cinderella story, but one American man took ‘shoot your shot’ seriously in 2017.


You won't want to miss...

Who are the highest paid models of 2017?
10 gorgeous plus-sized models who aren't Ashley Graham
5 top leg exercises for men
10 best dressed men of 2017
Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


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 network.


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.