Baghdad has not asked — and does not need — United States ground troops to assist it in its fight against Islamic State in Iraq, Saad Haithi, spokesman for the Prime Minister Haider Abadi, said Wednesday.
Two days ago, on October 27, US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter had suggested that the Pentagon may now be considering ground attacks against ISIL in Iraq.
“This is an Iraqi affair and the government did not ask the U.S. Department of Defense to be involved in direct operations,” Saad Hadithi told NBC News, adding that Baghdad has “enough soldiers on the ground.”
In international law, as Hadithi pointed out, the United States is required to coordinate with Baghdad any military activity in the country, including the airstrikes the US and its coalition partners are currently conducting against ISIL targets on Iraqi soil.
The rebuff from Baghdad comes as yet another humiliation for Washington, as it coincides with Jordan’s decision to co-operate with Russian air strikes in Syria directed at ISIL bases and weapons facilities there.