Top US commander in Iraq to discuss Anbar plan

Top US commander in Iraq to discuss Anbar plan
2 min read
21 September, 2015
Lloyd Austin of US Central Command (CENTCOM) visited Baghdad and Iraqi Kurdistan, to discuss with Iraqi leaders a plan to liberate Anbar province from Islamic State group's control.
Abadi called on the international community to support Iraq in its fight against terrorism [Anadolu/Getty]
Commander of United States Central Command (CENTCOM) General Lloyd Austin has visited Iraq ahead of an expected battle to liberate Anbar province from Islamic State group (IS, formerly ISIS) control. Austin discussed with Iraq's leaders the plan and preparations for the battle that will see the US Army join effort with the Iraqi Army and Iraqi tribes to defeat IS in Anbar.

Upon his arrival, Austin held meetings with the Iraqi Minister of Defence Khaled al-Obaidi and Prime Minister Haider Abadi, before he and a large military delegation traveled to the Iraqi Kurdistan region.

The Iraqi ministry of defence issued a press statement saying: "Al-Obaidi received Austin and his accompanying delegation and they discussed, in the presence of a number of senior officers from the ministry and the US ambassador in Baghdad, Stewart Jones, the latest developments in the theatres of operation, particularly in Anbar and Mosul."

The statement added that the two sides "discussed the Iraqi Army's readiness for the crucial battle to liberate Anbar."

Abadi on his part called on the international community to support Iraq in its "fight against terrorism." A press release issued by the Iraqi prime minister's office stated that he "received Austin and his accompanying delegation and discussed with him the developments on the ground in the fight against IS, the training and arming of security forces and volunteers, an evaluation of the way military operations are being conducted, and the importance of continued international support for Iraq."

Abadi told Austin that it is necessary that the "international community supports Iraq in this battle" and emphasised his determination to "free every inch of Iraq's territories."

The statement quoted General Austin to have underscored his country's "strong support for Iraq in its war against terrorism."

Austin also traveled to the Iraqi Kurdistan region and discussed with its president, Massoud Barzani, the situation on the battlefronts against IS in Anbar, Salahuddin, Kirkuk, and Nineveh provinces.

Barzani's office issued a statement saying that he "discussed with Austin and the US military officers the situation on the ground on the battlefronts and the readiness of the Peshmerga forces."

The two sides expressed their "satisfaction for the decision by Turkey to join the international front to fight IS, because of its inherent positive impact on the course of the battles."

Austin also praised "the bravery and courage of Peshmerga forces in fighting terrorism," saying that the "US Army will support the Peshmerga every step of the way."