Despite recent setbacks in Iraq, US President Barrack Obama, told an interviewer earlier in the week, he doesn’t believe the US is losing the war there to Islamic State (IS).
In the interview, to The Atlantic news magazine, he sought to reassure skeptics on the Iran deal that he knows what he is doing and won’t be played. To allies such as Saudi Arabia and Turkey, who could go nuclear if the Iran deal was less than advertised, he said, in a thinly veiled threat, they stand to lose America’s protective shield.
On recent reverses in Iraq — Ramadi falling to IS, he said, “I don’t think we’re losing… There’s no doubt there was a tactical setback”. He argued that Ramadi had been vulnerable for a long time, “primarily because these are not Iraqi forces that we have trained”.
The city’s fall has raised concerns that the IS was indeed winning the war, undeterred by all that the US-led coalition. Some conservative lawmakers such as Senator John McCain and Lindsay Graham, who is planning to run for the White House, want to ramp up US presence in Iraq to 10,000 troops.
While arguing that the situation in northern Iraq and around Baghdad — mostly Shia areas — was under control, he conceded that Sunni areas remained a concern.
But he said Iraq is for the Iraqis to resolve, “If they are not willing to fight for their country, we cannot do that for them. We can be effective allies.”
The present government in Baghdad, he said, was on course.