Ambassador Faily talks ISIS fight as Russia ramps up in Syria

Ambassador Faily talks ISIS fight as Russia ramps up in Syria

CNN, Thu, Oct 8, 2015

by Mick Krever

Russia "can complement the fight we have against ISIS," Iraq's ambassador to the United States says. "To us, the United States and the coalition are the primary partners," the envoy, Lukman Faily, told CNN on Thursday. But "if support is provided from others, we will certainly think twice before saying no."

"Russia, other countries, have their own threat in relation to ISIS, and they also have a stake. We would like and seek support from all to cleanse our country from ISIS. Iraqi needs (are) paramount for us."

Faily emphasized that Baghdad is not looking elsewhere but said it would "seriously consider" offers of support. "We think that overall there has to be a higher sense of urgency because of the situation in Iraq, and because we cannot co-exist one extra day with ISIS," he said.

A leading Shiite politician in Iraq told Reuters this week that the country may soon be forced to ask Russia for airstrikes. Responding to that report, Faily said that there had not been a "detailed discussion" of a Russian intervention.

Two weeks ago, Iraq agreed with Russia, Syria and Iran to enter into an intelligence-sharing agreement to battle ISIS. Faily, sitting in Washington, seemed to downplay that agreement, saying he was aware of the American politics and "global geopolitics."

"We are putting various firewalls in place to make sure that the intelligence is at (a) low level and anything comes into Iraq and doesn't go out. We are very cautious and very careful as to what sharing we can do with others," he said. "Atrocities should no longer be tolerated. Support should be provided by all. And whomever is providing that support, we will seriously consider that."

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