The advance of the Islamic State group in Iraq is a “failure” for the whole world community, Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said Tuesday, hours ahead of a crunch international meeting in Paris to refine strategy against the jihadist group.
He said Iraq “needs all the support of the world” to counter the jihadist advance, but “we are not getting much. I think this is a failure on the part of the world…. There is a lot of talk of support for Iraq, there is very little on the ground.”
Abadi also urged the international community to help Iraq purchase weapons to fight the jihadists, saying the country had received “almost none. We are relying on ourselves.”
“Because of our fiscal problems, we were not able to get into new contracts for arms supply. Most contracts were done in the previous government with the Russians,” he said.
“The Russians are under sanctions now by the US, so we are finding it very difficult to pay for these arms to get them. The money is there sitting in the bank, but we cannot get them.”
Abadi said sanctions also ruled out buying arms from neighbouring Iran.
“We are not asking for arms, but please let us purchase arms easily.”
The prime minister said until recently about six in 10 fighters were Iraqi and the remainder foreign but now the proportion was reversed.
“Daesh is creating a new generation of fighters, dedicated, ideologised. They are prepared to die but they are not suicide bombers,” said Abadi, using an alternative name for the IS jihadists.
Whereas suicide bombers were prepared to die but not fight, Daesh jihadists were prepared to both fight and die, creating a dangerous enemy.
Abadi’s comments came after a huge suicide bomb against an Iraqi police base killed at least 37 people.
The blast further slowed an operation to retake the city of Ramadi, which will be a main focus of the Paris talks.