Iraq’s ambassador to US: war with ISIS ‘acid test’ of US-Iraq ties
Iraq’s ambassador to the United States said June 26 that his country’s preference is to rely on US military assistance to battle the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS).
Asked about reports of Iranian drone flights and provisions of military equipment to Iraq, as well as Syrian airstrikes on ISIS forces inside Iraq, Ambassador Lukman Faily, who met with Al-Monitor at his office in Washington, said that if US military aid is not forthcoming, “we will not be in a position to choose our partners and whoever is available to help us in our survival war, then we will take that.”
Faily, who was in Baghdad for US Secretary of State John Kerry’s meetings with Iraqi leaders this past week, said many Iraqis are asking if the United States will “support a democratically elected government in this war of aggression by an international terrorist organization.”
Iraq’s ambassador, who was born in Baghdad and completed the April 2014 Boston marathon, said that Baghdad is desperate for air support in its battle with ISIS.
“Any air supremacy support provided to Iraq will surely have a significant effect. That to us is a key game changer,” Faily said.
“We have had offers from the Syrians before and we declined them,” he said. “But it seems that the support that we sought from the US is not coming in a timely manner to deal with our urgency, which is more or less putting us in an uncomfortable position in seeking support from whoever is available on the ground.”
Faily expressed hope that Iraq’s neighbors could rally to provide “unusual” support in this time of crisis in Iraq.