State Department spokesperson Marie Harf broke with Secretary of Defense Ash Carter Tuesday and his assessment that the Iraqi army has “no will to fight” after they ditched Ramadi as ISIS took over the city.
Appearing on “The Situation Room” with host Wolf Blitzer, Harf argued that Iraqi forces do indeed “have the will to fight” even though they are facing ISIS, an army she described as “incredibly well-equipped” and “well-trained.”
Carter made his initial comments on the Iraqi’s lack-of-fight in defense of Ramadi on Sunday on CNN’s “State Of The Union.” (RELATED: Obama DoD Secretary Blames Iraqis For Fall Of Ramadi: ‘No Will To Fight’)
WOLF BLITZER: Does your boss, Secretary of State John Kerry, who served in Vietnam — remembers that war very well — agree with the current Defense Secretary Ash Carter, who [said] the other day that the Iraqi forces who in Ramadi…showed up with “no will to fight?”
MARIE HARF: I think what I would say…is that when these Iraqi forces are trained, when they’re equipped, when they have support, that we have seen them have the will to fight. They are facing, in ISIL, an incredibly complex enemy, an incredibly well-equipped, well-armed, well-trained enemy that has, for example, more resources than al Qaeda in Iraq ever had. And if you remember how long it took the U.S. and others to push al Qaeda in Iraq back, it took many, many months, and indeed years. So, the Iraqi forces have been fighting and really contesting Ramadi for many months. We knew there would be setbacks like this. But we have seen that they do have the will to fight. We’re helping equip them, we’re helping train them. It’s going to be a long fight, though.
BLITZER: But they didn’t have the will to fight in Ramadi. They certainly didn’t have the will to fight in Mosul a year ago.
HARF: Well I think it’s a little bit different, and what we saw in Ramadi is that for months and months, Iraqi forces were contesting ISIL there. That Mosul fell quite quickly, actually, so that was a little bit different…But when it came to Ramadi, they contested it for many months, they fought valiantly. ISIL threw a ton of resources, a lot of firepower at the situation, and unfortunately, we had a pretty significant setback. But they’ve started to counterattack around Ramadi and we are confident that eventually Ramadi will be retaken.