ISIL poses serious security threat to Iraq, says White House

Written by PTI | Washington | Updated: Jul 4 2014, 20:58pm hrs
White HouseTime is of the essence right now because there is a serious threat to the security situation in Iraq posed by The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. (Photo: Reuters)
The ISIL which has gained control over a large part of Iraq and Syria poses serious security threat to the Iraq and Iraqi leadership should quickly come together to form a new government in the country, the White House has said.

"It (the government formation process) is not moving as expeditiously as we would like it to, there is no doubt about that.

Time is of the essence right now because there is a serious threat to the security situation there that is posed by The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant," the White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said yesterday.

So US President Barack Obama and other world leaders have been pressing Iraq's political leadership not just to come together at a time and place of their choosing, but come together quickly, because it is important for the future of Iraq for them to form that government in line with the process that is laid out by their constitution, he said.

"And once that government is formed, it is important for that government to pursue the kind of inclusive governing agenda that makes it clear to every citizen in Iraq that they have a stake in that countrys future," he added.

"That is also what is going to be required for the security forces in Iraq to be strengthened, that the security forces need to reflect the diversity of the country, and when you have a unified political leadership, you have unified security forces," Earnest said.

"We are confident that Iraq can meet the threat that is posed by ISIL, but we are confident that they won't be able to meet that threat if they don't act quickly to form that government and for that government to pursue an inclusive agenda," he said.

Responding to questions about sending troops, Earnest said any decision that US President makes about military actions in Iraq will be focused on its core national security interests.

"That's what is driving that decision, and that is what will continue to drive the decision moving forward," he said.

"So what you have seen is in recent days, the announcement of deployment of some additional troops to Iraq with the sole purpose of ensuring the safety and security of American personnel who are already in Iraq.

That is the President's top goal, and that is what he has assessed thus far in terms of deploying military assets in support of our broader national security interests," he said.

Earnest said it is critically important for the government of Iraq to unite in the face of this threat and that any sort of military action will need to be partnered with a commitment from Iraq's political leaders to do exactly that.

"Because ultimately, there is not a military solution to this problem, there is a diplomatic and political solution that will ultimately address so many of the significant challenges that are facing Iraq right now," he said.

Meanwhile, White House has supported for a unified Iraq, hoping that leaders of Kurdistan would realise this with the Kurds in northern Iraq deciding to change their status from semi-autonomous region to autonomous.

"We have seen those reports that you are referring to of the increased interest among the Kurds for some autonomy or at least a referendum that would allow them to vote for their autonomy", the White House Press Secretary, Josh Earnest said.

"The fact is that we continue to believe that Iraq is stronger if it is united", he said.

"That is why the United States continues to support an Iraq that is democratic, pluralistic, unified and we are going to continue to ask all parties in Iraq to continue working together toward that objective," he added.

Earnest said the best way for Iraq to confront the threat that is posed by ISIL is to unify the country in the face of that existential threat.

"We think that is in the best interest of all the citizens of Iraq. But what is incumbent upon Iraq's political leaders is for them to come together, to put aside sectarian divisions, and focus on the best interests of the country," he said.

"We are hopeful that Kurdish leaders will play a similarly constructive role in making that happen in the same way that we are appealing to the national interest of Sunni and Shia leaders to do the same thing," the White House Press Secretary said.

It is the position of the Obama Administration that it is in the best interests of all of the citizens of Iraq for that country to come together to confront that threat.

"That includes Kurds, Sunni and Shia. I am not surprised to hear that there may be some speculation or some analysis from different quarters who might suggest that one group might be better off standing on its own," he said.

"But it's the policy of this administration and this country that again Iraq will better weather the threat that is posed by ISIL if that country unifies around the goal of defending that country against the threat that's posed by ISIL," he said.

In an interview to PBS "NewsHour", Falah Mustafa Bakir, Foreign Relations Chief for the Kurdish Regional Government, said that Iraq as a state didn't exist.

"Iraq is an artificial state and what is built here on wrong foundations will not be able to survive. We as Kurds have suffered a lot. And we paid the price of keeping the balance between Shias and Sunnis in Iraq".

"Time has come in order to correct that historical mistake. And we are not ready to pay more prices for the instability of that area," he said.