Unable to wait for U.S. military assistance any longer, the Iraqi government has turned to other countries to help, the Iraqi ambassador to the U.S. said Tuesday.
While President Barack Obama announced Monday that he will send 200 combat troops to protect Americans in Baghdad, Russian jets and pilots arrived in the region on Saturday, along with trainers who will help the Iraqi military learn to fly the planes.
“The Sukhoi Su-25 is an air-ground support and anti-terrorism mission aircraft. In these difficult times, we are in great need of such aircraft,” said an Iraqi general. “With God’s help, we will be able to deploy them to support our ground forces on a mission against the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant militants within the next 3-4 days.” (RELATED: Radical Muslims Just Declared Their Own Empire Across Much Of The Middle East)
Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki criticized U.S. inaction last week, saying “I’ll be frank and say that we were deluded when we signed the contract [with the US]. We should have sought to buy other jet fighters like British, French and Russian to secure the air cover for our forces; if we had air cover we would have averted what had happened.” (RELATED: Polish Foreign Minister Says US-Polish Alliance Is Bullshit)
ISIS, which now calls itself simply the Islamic State, declared its conquered territories a caliphate this weekend, under the absolute rule of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. The last caliphate collapsed in 1924 with the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire after the Turkish War of Independence.
Iraq has also accepted help from Syria, who launched air strikes against rebels in northern Iraq last week.
Iraq’s Christians, many of whom enlisted on the U.S. side during the Iraq War, are increasingly embittered. ”This is America’s fault,” said one Iraqi. “It’s the Muslims who are killing us, but this never would have happened if the West hadn’t turned our lives upside down. Maybe we’ll be able to return one day if we have proper allies.”
U.S. tensions with Maliki have been building since the crisis began, with Maliki rejecting Secretary of State John Kerry’s call for an emergency government including greater minority representation last week.
The Iraqi ambassador reiterated his request for U.S. airstrikes Tuesday, saying that “time is not on our side. … Further delay only benefits the terrorists.”
According to the United Nations, over 2,400 people have been killed in Iraq in June alone.