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Iraqi PM to ask for more weapons in meeting with Obama

Reporter: Daniel Ryntjes 丨 CCTV.com

04-14-2015 11:35 BJT

US President Barack Obama will meet Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi at the White House today to discuss a range of issues, including the military campaign against the Islamic State.

Haider Al-Abadi is coming to the US capital, along with his defense minister and some momentum in the fight against ISIL, after the city of Tikrit was taken back with the help of US airstrikes.

Al-Abadi is expected to request billions of dollars in arms and continued air support from Washington. He's also expected to request deferred payment, as Iraq's anti-ISIL campaign, combined with a decline in oil prices, have left Baghdad short on cash.

Much of the credit for the recent Tikrit victory, which one US official described as a "roller coaster" is being given to the participation of Iranian-backed Shiite militia on the ground.

Now the goal is to topple ISIL from its key Arab Sunni strongholds in Anbar province and the oil-rich city of Mosul in nearby Nineveh province.

The US would like to see Sunni army units taking on this fight in order to avoid further sectarian divisions. But for now, those regular units have not proven to be battle-ready.

In order to move forward on a "spring offensive" Al-Abadi is seeking instead to "select" Sunni militia groups to arm and support. 

So leading up to al-Abadi's meeting with President Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry, US officials are less keen on quick action and instead want to underline that this partnership is part of a "long term campaign."

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