The U.S. has told Iraq's leaders they must choose between ongoing American support in the battle against militants of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and asking the Russians to intervene instead.
Marine Gen. Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said Tuesday that the Iraqis had promised they would not request any Russian airstrikes or support for the fight against ISIS.
after leaving Baghdad, Dunford told reporters traveling with him that
he had laid out a choice when he met with Iraqi Prime Minister Haider
al-Abadi and Defense Minister Khaled al-Obeidi earlier Tuesday.
said it would make it very difficult for us to be able to provide the
kind of support you need if the Russians were here conducting operations
as well," Dunford said. "We can't conduct operations if the Russians
were operating in Iraq right now."
He said there was "angst" in
the U.S. when reports surfaced that al-Abadi had said he would welcome
Russian airstrikes in Iraq. The U.S., Dunford said, "can't have a
relationship right now with Russia in the context of Iraq."