Friday, 15 December 2017 01:58 GMT
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White House defends US response in Iraq, says Iran can explain its own decisions

(MENAFN - Kuwait News Agency (KUNA)) Responding to critics who say the lack of US military strikes in Iraq may spur Iran to step into the breach, White House press secretary Josh Earnest on Wednesday said the guiding principle of the response of President Barack Obama to the situation in Iraq is to focus on "the best interests of American national security." Deploying significant US military resources to try to stabilize the security situation in Iraq will only be successful if that is accompanied by legitimate efforts by the Iraqi political leadership to form an inclusive government that pursues an inclusive governing agenda, Earnest said during a briefing



"That is why you have seen senior members of this administration in regular touch with Iraq's political leaders to encourage them to act urgently to form a government that actually is inclusive," Earnest said



As part of that effort, Vice President Joe Biden on Wednesday called Osama Nujaifi, who served as the speaker of the previous session of Iraq's Council of Representatives, Earnest noted



In that telephone call, Biden "expressed the United States' strong support for Iraq in the fight against ISIL (the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant) and concern for those Iraqis affected by the current crisis," Earnest said. "The two agreed on the importance of Iraqis moving expeditiously to form a new government capable of uniting the country." If Iraq intends to successfully confront the threat posed by ISIL, it will require a united Iraq to do so, and the nation of Iraq will only be united if there is a unified government that is representative of Iraq's diverse population, and that is what will be required for success," Earnest said



"The United States will stand with the people of Iraq as they pursue an inclusive government like that, but they will not be successful if they do not pursue that kind of inclusive governing agenda," he added



"Anyone who seeks to exacerbate the sectarian tensions already manifest in Iraq will be acting not only counter-productively against the interest of the nation of Iraq, but also against the interests of other nations in the region," Earnest said



"An Iraq that is torn apart along sectarian divisions is going to have a destabilizing impact on countries all across the region." "It is in the interest of Iran for Iraq to come together to confront the threat of a destabilized Iraq, as an Iraq that is divided along sectarian lines "is not the kind of neighbor that Iran wants," Earnest noted



"So I will let the government of Iran speak to their own motivations and their own decisions that they make about the application of their military might, but I think any clear-eyed assessment of the situation leads one to conclude that Iraq needs to come together to confront this threat, and that doing so is in the interest not just of Iraq, but of nations around the world," he said


White House defends US response in Iraq, says Iran can explain its own decisions

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