US defense secretary blames Iraqi military for fall of Ramadi
Iran Press TV
Sun May 24, 2015 2:42PM
US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter has blamed the Iraqi military for the fall of the city of Ramadi, saying that Iraqi forces had no will to fight ISIL.
'What apparently happened was that the Iraqi forces just showed no will to fight,' Carter said in an exclusive interview with CNN aired on Sunday. They were his first comments regarding the fall of the town.
'They were not outnumbered. In fact, they vastly outnumbered the opposing force, and yet they failed to fight, they withdrew from the site, and that says to me, and I think to most of us, that we have an issue with the will of the Iraqis to fight ISIL and defend themselves.'
The US official also said that the lack of willingness displayed by Iraqi forces was "very concerning" as they are the ones in charge of holding their territory and fighting against the ISIL terrorists.
Carter also noted that the Pentagon can give the Iraqis training and equipment, but not 'the will to fight.'
The Pentagon chief further emphasized the role of Iraqi forces in liberating ISIL-controlled lands, stating that 'we can participate in the defeat of ISIL, But we can't make Iraq ... a decent place for people to live – we can't sustain the victory, only the Iraqis can do that."
Carter went on to defend US-led airstrikes on ISIL positions, asserting that it is an effective part of the fight against the terrorist group.
Ramadi, located at about 110 kilometers west of capital Baghdad, fell into the hands of the ISIL militants last week and Iraqi military has launched several counter-offensives in bid to take the strategic city back.
In Pentagon's last week estimate, when Iraqi troops abandoned Ramadi, they left behind a half-dozen tanks, a similar number of artillery pieces, a larger number of armored personnel carriers and about 100 wheeled vehicles like Humvees.
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