Dempsey: Excluding Baghdad, US can work with other partners
NEWS CENTER (DİHA) - The Pentagon has a contingency plan to work with ground partners should united Iraqi forces fail against the Islamic State, US Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman General Martin E. Dempsey said Wednesday.
“We're also continually assessing our plans and our underlying assumptions. Our current plan contributes to an outcome in which Iraq will be able to achieve a government that represents all sects of the Iraqi people,” Dempsey told Rudaw via a Facebook town hall Q&A. “If that assumption does not prove to be true, then we will adapt, with the cooperation of our coalition and network of ground partners, to protect our security interests,” he added.
Dempsey's words mirror those of US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter, who alluded last week during testimony before a House Armed Services Committee hearing that Iraq could fragment into Kurdish, Sunni and Shiite states. "What if a multi-sectarian Iraq turns out not to be possible?" asked Carter, "That is an important part of our strategy now on the ground.” "If that government can't do what it's supposed to do, then we will still try to enable local ground forces, if they're willing to partner with us, to keep stability in Iraq, but there will not be a single state of Iraq," he said.
The Pentagon has currently deployed over 3,500 military advisors and trainers to assist Iraqi security forces, Kurdish Peshmerga and Sunni tribal forces in an effort to turn the tide against the Islamic State.
Dempsey said that US strategy is to focus on the ISIS threat at the moment. “For now, we remain clear eyed about the nature of the threat and continue to impose heavy costs on ISIS,” he said, adding that the gang militants can be defeated.