SYDNEY (AFP) -Baghdad has not requested foreign ground forces to battle the Islamic State (IS) group, Iraqi Foreign Minister Ibrahim al-Jafaari said Thursday after Barack Obama called for military operations that stop short of a full-scale invasion.
In Sydney, the Iraqi minister said ground forces were not part of his government’s plan. “We have never asked for a ground forces contribution,” he said through an interpreter after meetings with Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop.
“We have established a set of guidelines,” for the international coalition, al-Jafaari told a press conference. This was to provide air support for Iraqi forces, training and intelligence, he stressed.
“The message that Iraq has submitted to the (United Nations) security council never included a request for ground forces to enter Iraqi territory to conduct such operations.”
However he added, “We are at the beginning of a major war and the situation could be changing.”
The minister noted that Iraqi armed forces were advancing against IS and had no shortage of troops.
“There is no doubt that the Iraqi armed forces need aerial support, in addition to intelligence information,” he said. “No country has regular armies or ground troops present in Iraq except for providing training and counselling.”