“We talked about our next steps … in the stabilization of Iraq and our continued willingness to lead a coalition in support of the consolidation of Iraqi government control over Iraqi territory,” the defense secretary added.
Addressing the Troops
Shortly after the meeting with Abadi, Carter spoke with about 50 service members, greeting them and asking them to send thanks to their families from DoD for their service and sacrifice.
“You are doing extremely important work here and you're here at an historic moment,” the secretary said, adding that ISIL must be defeated in Iraq and Syria to destroy the idea that an Islamic state could exist based on brutal ideology.
“We are at an important moment in the campaign because you, together with our Iraqi partners, led by Prime Minister Abadi and … a unified Iraq, a unified armed forces enabled by the massive might of the international coalition that you lead” has been executing the coalition military plan for ISIL’s defeat “with the excellence that the world knows is so characteristic of the U.S. military,” Carter told the troops.
“We know it's not going to be easy, but I'm encouraged by what I see so far. It's proceeding according to plan and we're on track,” the secretary added, also commending the Iraqi forces and the Kurdish peshmerga for their important contributions to the effort.
After the Mosul Victory
With confidence in the Mosul victory, Carter said, all must look to the future of Iraq.
“To make victory stick, you have to have, in the aftermath, decent governance and stabilization and reconstruction. I took the opportunity earlier today to talk to the United Nations and the [U.S. Agency for International Development] and the Iraqi government coordinators for that phase,” the secretary said.
“That’s not your job. It's not the Department of Defense's job,” he added, “but it's very important to make sure that that's ready to go so the defeat of ISIL in Mosul sticks.”
What’s true in Mosul is true everywhere in the country, Carter said.
“I'm confident that's possible. We've got to work on it. We have to win the peace after we win the battle,” he said.
“This couldn't happen without the support of the international coalition. That coalition couldn't exist without the United States. And that coalition couldn't be successful on the battlefield without the awesome prowess of the people in this room and in the U.S. military around the world,” the secretary said.
(Source: US Dept of Defense)