U.S. Defence Secretary, Ashton Carter on Sunday slammed the Iraqi army which abandoned the provincial capital Ramadi last week, leaving it to fall under ISIS control, despite them outnumbering the jihadists.
In an exclusive interview on CNN’s State of the Union aired Sunday, Carter said, “What apparently happened was that the Iraqi forces just showed no will to fight”.
“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 ISIS and defend themselves” he added.
Carter reiterated, “we can give them training, we can give them equipment — we obviously can’t give them the will to fight. But if we give them training, we give them equipment, and give them support, and give them some time, I hope they will develop the will to fight, because only if they fight can ISIS remain defeated” he added.
Carter pointed out that the airstrikes carried out by the international coalition forces led by the United States “were effective, but they could not replace the Iraqi forces will to fight”.
ISIS gunmen on Sunday controlled the border crossing between Syria and Iraq only a few days after they controlled Anbar’s major city of Ramadi.
ISIS recent victories led to questioning the efficacy of the US strategy in Iraq since the launching of nearly three thousand airstrikes since August last year did not prevent the organization from continuing to achieve more victories in Iraq.
The Iraqi army and volunteers loyal to them have been trying to regroup after their loss in Ramadi.
Al-Jazeera channel reported Iraqi security sources as saying that clashes occurred on Saturday between the Iraqi security forces and ISIS gunmen in Al-Madeeq area in the Anbar province, where Iraqi troops are trying to secure the town and prevent ISIS progress towards Habbaniyah air base.
According to the same security forces, the Iraqi army, police forces and Shia militia loyal to them moved from Habbaniya airbase to station in Khalidiya town.