Iraqi Vice-President Allawi says extremist group IS cannot be defeated with airstrikes alone
DAVOS, Switzerland (AA) - The US-led coalition against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant "is not helping," Iraqi Vice-President Ayad Allawi said late Thursday.
"The US-led coalition is not helping. It is not a matter of bombardment, it is a matter of trying to fight [Islamic State] on several levels; on intelligence, on special forces, and most importantly on the ideological side," Allawi said.
He also criticised what he said was the lack of a coherent strategy within the coalition.
The vice-president's remarks come a day after Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said he was pleased with the commitment of the coalition to defeating the terrorist group as he met UK Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond and US State Secretary John Kerry at an anti-IS meeting in London.
Al-Abadi called on the international coalition battling IS to provide his country's forces with more weapons to fight the militants.
"Iraq needs weapons and the international community has the ability to provide Iraq with the weapons it needs," he told reporters after a meeting of 21 coalition members in London.
Abadi said the plummeting oil price had been "disastrous" for Iraq, which is on the frontline of the fight against IS militants who seized parts of his country and Syria last year.
He said his presence at the meeting alongside US Secretary of State John Kerry and other foreign ministers was to secure a commitment from the coalition of more help.
"I'm personally here to get more support from our partners," Abadi said.
The 60-member coalition has been carrying out airstrikes against IS for five months. Kerry said Thursday that the strikes were effective in stopping the group’s advance and even forcing it to pull back in some regions.
Allawi also said that it was not the right time for an independent Kurdish state. The Iraqi central government controls an autonomous Kurdish region in the country's north that is increasingly taking more liberties in its foreign and energy policies.
Allawi admitted that Kurds would "ultimately want to have a separate state," but added: "If we get Kurds to be a part of Iraq, I do not think there will be a need for separation."
The north houses rich oil-and-gas reserves and is growing to become an energy player in the region with its developing ties with Turkey and other countries. Baghdad and the regional Kurdish government have differences over how to divide energy exports’ revenue.