No need for foreign troops to combat IS in Iraq: Abadi

Baghdad, Dec 2 (IANS) Iraq’s Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has said his country does not need foreign troops to fight IS militants, but welcomes support through weapons and training, themedia reported on Wednesday.

“There is no need for foreign combat ground troops on Iraqi soil,” Xinhua quoted a statement by Abadi’s office as saying on Tuesday.

The presence of foreign troops in Iraq, if any, must be approved by and coordinated with the government, said Abadi, who is also the commander-in-chief of the country’s armed forces.

“Any military operation or deployment of any foreign force, special or not, at any place in Iraq cannot happen without approval of and coordination with Iraqi government and full respect of the country’s sovereignty,” the statement said.

Abadi’s comments came after an earlier announcement by the US Defence Secretary Ashton Carter that the Pentagon was deploying a specialised operations force which would “over time” conduct unilateral operations in Iraq and Syria as part of the US military campaign against the IS.

Iraq witnesses a fresh wave of violence amid deteriorating security, with IS militants controlling parts of northern and western regions and committing crimes against Shiites, Sunnis, Kurds, Christians, Yazidi Kurds, and other ethnic and religious communities.

Many blame the current chronic instability, cycle of violence, and the emergence of extremist groups such as the IS on the US, which invaded Iraq in March 2003 under the pretext of seeking to destroy weapons of mass destruction (WMD) in the country.

The war led to the ouster and eventual execution of Iraqi president Saddam Hussein, but no WMD was found.


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