Iraq on Thursday called on the international community to provide more weapons to help it push back the Islamic State (ISIS) terrorist group, amid growing fears the jihadists are planning to bring their fight to the streets of Europe.
Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, speaking in London at a meeting of the international coalition against the terrorist group, also warned of the impact of falling oil prices on his country’s ability to defeat ISIS.
“We don’t want to see a military defeat because of budget and fiscal problems,” Prime he told reporters after talks with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and ministers from 19 other countries in London.
The United States assembled a coalition of about 60 countries last year, including Arab nations, to take action against the Islamist group after it seized a swathe of territory in Iraq and Syria.
Coalition members have conducted almost 2,000 air strikes against ISIS targets in the past four months, killing “thousands” of its fighters — including “50 percent of the top command”, Kerry said.
“They have definitively put Daesh on the defensive where those strikes take place and in that particular region,” he said, referring to ISIS group by its Arabic acronym.
But Iraq’s security forces are on the frontline of the ground battle and they are struggling.
Abadi, who before the meeting had talks with Prime Minister David Cameron in Downing Street, said there had been a recent increase in the delivery of weapons to his security forces, and reported a positive response at Thursday’s talks to a request to defer payment.
But he warned that the 60-percent fall in world oil prices since June had been “disastrous” for his country, where 90 percent of the budget is dependent on oil.
“Iraq needs weapons — and the international community has the ability to provide Iraq with the weapons it needs,” Abadi said at a press conference.
AFP contributed to this report.