DUBAI, October 20 (RIA Novosti) - Iraqi Prime Minister Haider Abadi rejected on Monday any possibility of foreign ground force intervention to assist in the fight against Islamic State (IS) militants.
"No ground forces from any superpower, international coalition or regional power will fight here," Gulf News reported Abadi as saying following a meeting with Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani. "This is my decision, it is the decision of the Iraqi government."
"I am telling our brothers in Anbar and Salaheddin [Iraqi provinces] who have asked for foreign ground troops that such an appeal should not be made for two reasons. We don't need foreign combat troops. And there is no country in the world which would be willing to fight here and give you back your land even if they were asked to," Abadi emphasized, as quoted by Gulf News.
The prime minister also noted his stance was supported by the spiritual leader of Iraqi Shiites.
Since the beginning of the US military campaign to counter Islamic State, some Iraqi officials and provincial tribal leaders that were hit hardest by the insurgency argued the operation should be extended from air strikes to a ground offensive.
After his meeting with Sistani, the Iraqi prime minister went to Iran for talks with the country's leaders on coordinating efforts to counter the Islamic State.
The IS, also known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS), or the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), is a Sunni Islamist group that has been fighting the Syrian government since 2012. In June 2014, the group extended its attacks to northern and western Iraq, declaring a caliphate on the territories that had fallen under its control.
The United States and a number of its allies have been carrying out airstrikes against IS targets in Iraq since August. In September, the US-led coalition started conducting attacks against the IS in Syria.