By John D. Banusiewicz
DoD News, Defense Media Activity
WASHINGTON, July 24, 2015 – In Baghdad yesterday as part of a weeklong trip to the Middle East, Defense Secretary Ash Carter praised Iraqi forces for their efforts to defeat the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant and commended Iraqi officials for working to create the inclusive government required for sustained success against ISIL.
At a news conference with Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, Carter said the United States strongly supports the Iraqi government as it tries to win back its sovereignty and bring peace to the country.
“That objective in Iraq is an important part of our strategy towards the Middle East,” he said, “and while the Middle East is only one part of the world, we are obviously engaged around the world.”
Defeating ISIL requires capable Iraqi ground forces that the United States can enable and support, the secretary said.
“And getting those forces, in turn, requires inclusive governance,” he said to Abadi and other Iraqi leaders at the news conference. “We in the United States have been not only supportive of, but admiring of your efforts in that regard, and thank you.”
Praise for Iraqi Security Forces
Carter also offered praise for Iraqi security forces, noting that he had met earlier in the day with Iraq’s counterterrorism force, calling it “one of the most successful on the battlefield in terms of both capability and motivation.”
The secretary expressed his appreciation to Iraq’s national and military leaders.
“We in the United States -- and President Obama in particular, and especially -- [are] admiring of what you're doing here [and] supportive of your efforts to accomplish it,” he said. “And we will make sure that we keep the political and the military efforts coordinated, aligned and moving at the same pace -- that is, at a fast pace.”