Iraqi PM to press for US troop deployment

Iraqi PM to press for US troop deployment
Haider al-Abadi to use visit to Washington to ask for US ground troops to support offensive against IS-controlled cities in Iraq, source tells al-Araby al-Jadeed.
2 min read
26 February, 2015
Abadi will discuss the redeployment of US ground forces in Iraq [Getty]

The Iraqi prime minister is to use an upcoming visit to Washington to press for the deployment of US troops to liberate areas of Iraq controlled by the Islamic State group, an Iraqi government source has told al-Araby al-Jadeed.

Haider al-Abadi is heading to the US after receiving an official invitation from the US president, Barack Obama.

The source, who works as a consultant for the Iraqi government and requested anonymity, told al-Arabi that Abadi decided to "head to Washington, accompanied by a high-level ministerial and military delegation, to define the nature of the ground forces to be assigned to participate in the war against the IS in Iraq."

The source stated that military leaders advised Abadi that it may be difficult to liberate IS-controlled cities without the support of US ground troops. The IS controls Mosul, Iraq's second-largest city, and parts of Tikrit and Fallujah.

US pivots toward new era of engagement with Iran. Read more.

Iraqi military leaders suggest that at the very least, they need a division of US troops - about 20,000 soldiers and support staff - to help combat the IS.

The source indicated that Abadi had spoken to Shia leaders at home about his plans.
Abadi said in a statement: "Iraq is fighting a fierce war against the terrorist IS movement that uses all methods to terrorise the citizens. This necessitates more support for Iraq's war against terrorism."

He pointed out that "international support for Iraq has improved in the past few days and we are hopeful for more support to get rid of IS."

The statement also quoted Austin, who said "Currently, the security situation is better than it was six months ago, because of the progress in the battle against terrorist organisations."

The security situation is better than it was six months ago, because of the progress in the battle against terrorist organisations.
- LLoyd Austin.

On a recent trip to Baghdad, Lloyd Austin, the commander of the US Central Command, said there was "continued US support for Iraq in its war against the terrorist IS group".

Salman al-Moeni, a professor of political science at Baghdad University, said the Iraqi constitution granted the prime minister full authority to sign treaties or request the involvement of foreign troops if the country's security was at risk.

"The strategic framework agreement between Iraq and the US allows Abadi to make such a request. It is also Washington's duty to provide security for Iraq and maintain the country's stability," Moeni said.

This is an edited translation from our Arabic edition.