Monday 5 December 2016

US 'lacks the will' to fight IS

Published 25/05/2015 | 10:26

Commander of Iran's Quds Force, Qassem Soleimani, sits in a religious ceremony at a mosque in the residence of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei in Tehran (Office of the Iranian Supreme Leader via AP)
Commander of Iran's Quds Force, Qassem Soleimani, sits in a religious ceremony at a mosque in the residence of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei in Tehran (Office of the Iranian Supreme Leader via AP)

The chief of an elite unit in Iran's revolutionary guard has accused the US of having "no will" to stop Islamic State (IS) after the fall of the Iraqi city of Ramadi, an Iranian newspaper has reported.

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The comments by Gen Qassem Soleimani, the head of the guard's elite Quds unit, come just after US defence secretary Ash Carter accused Iraqi forces of lacking the "will to fight" in an interview aired the day before.

It was not clear whether Gen Soleimani's remarks came as a direct response to Mr Carter's, though tensions remain high between the two countries amid negotiations over Iran's contested nuclear programme.

The report in the daily newspaper Javan, which is seen as close to the revolutionary guard, quoted Gen Soleimani as saying the US did not do a "damn thing" to stop the extremists' advance on Ramadi.

"Does it mean anything else than being an accomplice in the plot?" he reportedly asked.

He later said the US showed "no will" in fighting IS.

Gen Soleimani said Iran and its allies are the only forces that can deal with militant group.

He said: "Today, there is nobody in confrontation with (the Islamic State group) except the Islamic Republic of Iran, as well as nations who are next to Iran or supported by Iran."

US officials, including Mr Carter, have said Iraqi forces fled the IS advance on Ramadi without fighting back, leaving behind weapons and vehicles for the extremists.

So far, the American approach to the conflict has been to launch airstrikes as part of an international coalition, as well as equipping and training Iraqi forces.

Iran, meanwhile has offered advisers, including Gen Soleimani, to direct Shia militias fighting against the extremists.

Iran has said it does not have combat troops fighting in Iraq, though some revolutionary guard members have been killed there.

Press Association

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