Iraqi Ambassador: ‘Desperately Need U.S. Assistance,’ but Without It, Taking Iran’s, Russia’s
Posted at 10:34 a.m. on July 1, 2014
Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., right, greets Faily before taking part in a discussion on the unfolding violence in Iraq on June 18 at the American Enterprise Institute. (T.J. Kirkpatrick/Getty Images)
Iraq’s ambassador to the United States said Tuesday that the march of the Islamic State — the new name of the extremist group referred to as ISIS or ISIL — has forced the government to make choices it did not want to make.
“We desperately need U.S. assistance to turn the tide,” Lukman Faily said at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. President Barack Obama’s decision to send a contingent of troops and military advisers is most welcome, he said, but targeted military strikes are still needed.
“Time is not on our side,” he said, “nor is it on the United States’ side.”
That said, Iraq cannot wait on more U.S. help, Faily added.
“Because of the precarious situation now facing us, it is difficult for us to decline offers from other countries that share our perceived danger,” he said. And that includes Iran. “We have always tried to resist that but the situation on the ground may push us to acquire more support from our neighbor.”
Likewise, Iraq has accepted help from Russia in the form of aircraft that it would have rather gotten from the United States. “We have chose the United States as our partner of choice,” he said, noting $10 billion in purchases of military gear from the United States, with more ahead. “Our countries are forever tied together.”
The Obama administration has been somewhat reluctant to more fully commit to aiding the government of Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki in part because they blame his shunning of Sunnis for helping to fuel unrest in his country. Faily said there was an effort afoot to form a unity government, but that needed to be done carefully because voters made their feelings known on April 30. “The process of forming a new government must not be derailed by recent terrorist gains, otherwise voting means nothing and violence means everything,” he said.