Iraq’s Foreign Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari said that his country is winning its ongoing battle against the ISIL militants, as proven by the Iraqi army’s recent gains in different areas.
“The Iraqi army will win the battle against the ISIL, because it is defending a just cause and it is supported by the nation, government and religious authorities and this is shown by the recent liberation of regions previously held by the ISIL, including Jurf al-Sakhar, Baiji etc,” Jaafari said in an interview with press tv on Wednesday.
“The ISIL itself knows that it has no legitimacy whatsoever,” he added.
Jaafari further praised Iran’s support for Iraq in the course of its campaign against ISIL, saying, “Iran stood by Iraq from the very beginning of the ISIL offensive in Mosul. Iran did not hesitate and provided the needed consultation, which in fact was very effective.”
“This kind of consultation was not limited to specific regions. As you witnessed the same help was provided to the Kurdistan region and Iran’s humanitarian aid and media coverage were remarkable,” he added.
Commenting on the US plans to arm 100,000 Iraqi Sunni tribesmen against ISIL, he said Baghdad does not oppose arming the tribesmen against ISIL, but noted that the armed tribesmen and other groups should operate “under the banner of armed forced”.
With regard to Washington’s role in the anti-ISIL campaign, he stressed that the US presence in Iraq is restricted to the deployment of military advisors and launching airstrikes.
“We are against deployment of US ground troops in Iraq. We have made it clear that the US presence will be limited to airstrikes, providing intelligence equipment and training without establishment of a military base within the Iraqi soil,” the foreign minister noted.
“We only permit bombardment of the ISIL strongholds without any damage to residential areas or vital centers. This must happen in coordination with Iraqi officials and so far it has produced good results,” Jaafari pointed out.
The US-led coalition began targeting positions held by the Takfiri ISIL terrorists in Iraq in August. The coalition has also been conducting airstrikes against ISIL positions inside Syria, without any authorization from Damascus or a UN mandate.
The militants currently control parts of Syria and Iraq, where they have been committing heinous crimes in the captured areas, including the mass execution of civilians and security forces.
Iraqi authorities have repeatedly blamed Saudi Arabia and a number of Riyadh’s Persian Gulf allies for extending financial and logistical support to the terror campaign in Iraq.