Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has said his country does not need foreign troops to fight Islamic State militants, but welcomes outside support through weapons and training, local media reported on Wednesday.
“There is no need for foreign combat ground troops on Iraqi soil,” NINA news agency quoted a statement by Abadi’s office as saying.
The presence of foreign troops in Iraq, if any, must be approved by and coordinated with the Iraqi government, said Abadi, who is also the commander-in-chief of the Iraqi 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 Iraqi sovereignty,” the statement said.
Abadi’s comments came after an earlier announcement by U.S. Defense Secretary Ashton Carter that the Pentagon was deploying a specialized operations force which would “over time” conduct unilateral operations in Iraq and Syria as part of the U.S. military campaign against the IS.
Iraq is witnessing 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.