WASHINGTON The United States is prepared to deploy advisers and attack helicopters if requested by Iraq to aid it “finish the job” of retaking the city of Ramadi from Islamic State, U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter mentioned on Wednesday.
Carter’s remarks had been the newest sign of U.S. preparations to intensify its military involvement in the battle against the group, which controls wide swathes of Iraq and Syria and has orchestrated and inspired attacks abroad.
Islamic State captured Ramadi, a provincial capital just a quick drive west of Baghdad, in Might in its most significant conquest considering that last year, and retaking it would be a major victory for Iraq’s Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi.
Carter, speaking at a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing, stated it has taken a “frustratingly extended time” for Iraqi safety forces to claw back territory. But he pointed to considerable gains, including recapturing the Anbar Operations Center on the northern bank of the Euphrates River in the past 24 hours.
“The United States is prepared to help the Iraqi Army with additional exclusive capabilities to aid them finish the job, including attack helicopters and accompanying advisers, if circumstances dictate and if requested by Prime Minister Abadi,” Carter stated.
The United States has lately announced plans to deploy elite American military teams to Iraq and Syria and Carter told the Senate hearing that he was in touch with coalition partners to ask them to contribute specific operations forces.
But he expressed frustration with Sunni Arab allies, who he believed could make further contributions in the effort against Islamic State, a Sunni extremist group.
“I too want that especially the Sunni Arab nations of the Gulf would do far more,” Carter said.
(Reporting by Phil Stewart and Yeganeh Torbati Editing by David Alexander and Frances Kerry)