President Barack Obama said Monday that the United States does not have a “complete strategy” for training the Iraqi military to fight Islamic State extremists.
Obama said the Pentagon is reviewing a plan but details have yet to be worked out, the Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday.
Obama was speaking at the G7 leaders summit of major industrialized countries in Germany.
“We’re reviewing a range of plans for how we might do that, essentially accelerating the number of Iraqi forces that are properly trained and equipped and have a focused strategy and good leadership,” Obama said.
“And when a finalized plan is presented to me by the Pentagon, then I will share it with the American people.”
Obama’s comments came amid gains for Islamic State militants and questions about the strength of the Iraqi military.
Still, Obama said the US has made significant progress pushing back the extremist group in some areas, although the speed at which Iraqi forces are trained must be improved.
“Where we’ve trained Iraqi forces directly and equipped them, and we have a train-and-assist posture, they operate effectively,” Obama said.
“Where we haven’t, morale, lack of equipment, etcetera, may undermine the effectiveness of Iraqi security forces.”
Obama met with Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi at the summit in the Bavarian Alps.
He told Abadi that political inclusion in recruiting Iraqi forces is as important as the fight.
The US has pressed Abadi to improve outreach to the country’s Sunni minority in an effort to calm tensions and heal Iraq’s Shiite-Sunni divide.
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