No need for US forces in Mosul liberation offensive: Iraq MP
An Iraqi parliamentary panel has opposed the role of US troops in the liberation of Mosul, saying Iraq’s armed forces can recapture the Daesh-held city on their own.
Iraq “has sufficient forces to free its cities, including Mosul, from the grip of Daesh terrorists,” MP Nayef al-Shammari told Arabic-language al-Malouma news network on Friday.
“Iraqis have already retaken Tikrit, Fallujah and the neighboring city of Ramadi,” he added.
The MP, a member of parliament’s Security and Defense Committee, said Iraqi troops and volunteer forces are currently carrying out an offensive to liberate Mosul from Daesh terrorists.
On Thursday, Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi said Iraqi troops were now on their way to Mosul ahead of the planned offensive.
The premier stressed that his government sought to press ahead with “the fight against terrorism, over which we have registered numerous victories, liberating our cities one after the next.”
His remarks came as top diplomatic and military officials of a US-led coalition purportedly fighting Daesh gathered in Washington to discuss the Mosul battle.
“Mosul will be the ultimate test,” Brett McGurk, the US special presidential envoy to the coalition told defense and foreign ministers from more than 40 countries.
US Defense Secretary Ash Carter has recently said his country would send 560 more troops to Iraq to help recapture Mosul.
“These additional US forces will bring unique capabilities to the campaign and provide critical enabler support to Iraqi forces at a key moment in the fight,” Carter said during a visit to Baghdad on June 11.
Critics have questioned US deployment of new troops, citing Washington’s failure to commit troops when Daesh was overrunning Syrian and Iraqi cities one after another.
Iraqi forces hope to first secure areas surrounding the city before mounting a broad offensive.
In a lightening advance, Daesh managed to seize large swathes of land in the northern and western parts of Iraq in 2014. Mosul fell to Daesh terrorists in June that year.
Iraqi army soldiers, backed by volunteer fighters, have been fighting to win back militant-held regions in joint operations. They have made significant victories against the terrorists in recent months.
On Thursday, Defense Minister Khaled al-Obaidi said less than 10 percent of the Iraqi territory remains in the hands of Daesh.