Fight against ISIL to Dominate Talks between US, Iraq
TEHRAN (Tasnim) - Iraqi Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi and President Barack Obama will discuss the fight against Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) on Tuesday at a White House meeting likely to be dominated by Iraqi requests for US arms.
In his first US visit since becoming prime minister, Abadi is expected to seek billions of dollars in drones and other US weapons to combat ISIL, which seized much of northern and central Iraq last year.
Obama’s administration, which welcomed Abadi’s ascension after a tricky relationship with former Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, may not agree to all of the requests.
Nonetheless, the high-profile meeting in the Oval Office is meant to convey a US stamp of approval for a leader who has sought to be more inclusive than his predecessor in governing Iraq, Reuters reported.
Obama, who came to power on the back of a promise to end the war in Iraq, is restricted by public aversion to US entanglement in another regional conflict and congressional constraints on his budget authority.
“The US is not going to be willing to step up in terms of major military support. It’s unclear that the US can budget for major aid,” said Anthony Cordesman, foreign policy expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington.
Obama in August authorized the first US air strikes on Iraq since the 2011 US troop withdrawal and has deployed about 3,000 American military forces to train and advise Iraqi and Kurdish forces to fight ISIL.
“If there are specific ideas that Prime Minister Abadi has for stepped-up assistance, then we’ll obviously consider them seriously,” White House spokesman Josh Earnest said on Monday.
“The goal is to continue the obviously deep coordination that already exists between the United States and Iraq. This is a partnership that the United States is obviously deeply invested in.”