Gen. Ray Odierno, the Army’s chief of staff, said the world will have to “see what plays out” as the Iraqi army tries to defend Baghdad from the Islamic State group.
The officer told reporters Monday at the Association of the United States Army that he was “somewhat” confident the Iraqis could get the job done.
“We’ll have to see what plays out over the coming days,” he said, The Hill reported.
The Iraqi Defense Ministry confirmed Friday that members of the Islamic State have closed within eight miles of Baghdad’s international airport. While U.S.-led airstrikes have slowed the terrorist group, at some point Baghdad’s fate may rest in the hands of 60,000 Iraqi troops tasked with defending the capital.
Iraqi troops lost ground Monday when they were unable to prevent members of Islamic State from capturing a military training camp in the Anbar province west of Baghdad. Bombings in the region killed at least 30 in Anbar’s mostly Shiite neighborhoods, The Associated Press reported.
“The coalition can only deliver effective support to the Iraqi government and Iraqi security forces,” said British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond during a visit to Baghdad on Monday, AP reported. “The Iraqi people, the Iraqi security forces and Iraqi government will have to take the lead on the ground.”
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