Iraqi PM: Pentagon chief ‘fed with the wrong information’

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Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi is downplaying the recent capture of Ramadi by the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), saying in an interview that he is “surprised” by U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter’s comments that Iraqi forces had “no will to fight” the militants.

{mosads}”He [Carter] was very supportive of Iraq. I am sure he was fed with the wrong information,” al-Abadi said in an interview with the BBC.

“What apparently happened was that the Iraqi forces just showed no will to fight,” Carter said in an interview that aired Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

“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,” he said, using an alternate acronym for the terror group.

Carter’s remarks caused a stir, with the head of the Iraqi parliamentary defense and security committee calling them “unrealistic and baseless” and that Carter was attempting to “throw the blame on somebody else.”

That Iraqi official, Hakim al-Zamili, told The Associated Press that the U.S. has failed to provide “good equipment, weapons and aerial support” for U.S.-backed local forces battling ISIS, which also captured Palmyra, a historic city in central Syria, last week.

“It makes my heart bleed because we lost Ramadi. But I can assure you we can bring it back soon,” al-Abadi said, suggesting Iraqi forces could retake the city within a matter of days.

The White House said that Vice President Biden spoke with al-Abadi on Monday to “reaffirm U.S. support for the Iraqi government’s fight against ISIL.”

“The Vice President recognized the enormous sacrifice and bravery of Iraqi forces over the past eighteen months in Ramadi and elsewhere,” according to a summary of the call. “The Vice President welcomed the Council of Minister’s unanimous decision on May 19th to mobilize additional troops, honor those who have fallen, and prepare for counter-attack operations. The Vice President pledged full U.S. support in these and other Iraqi efforts to liberate territory from ISIL, including the expedited provision of U.S. training and equipment to address the threat posed by ISIL’s use of truck bombs.”

The Pentagon announced last week that it was sending 2,000 anti-tank weapons to Iraq that could arrive as early as this week.

The U.S. has also helped deliver 12,000 mortar rounds and 22 million rounds of small arms ammunition from coalition members within the past few weeks, according to the Defense Department.

Updated at 12:54 p.m.

Tags Ashton Carter Haider al-Abadi Iraq ISIS

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