Jordan FM: Iraqi troops responsible for fighting ISIS on the ground
Nasser Judeh, Jordan’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, said on Friday that the Iraqi government troops are currently responsible for fighting the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) on the ground.
In an interview with Al Arabiya’s New York bureau chief Talal al-Haj, Judeh said it was premature to consider sending Arab troops to fight the militant group on the ground.
He said Jordan was participating in the U.S.-led airstrikes against ISIS in Syria but refused to say what will happen if the airstrikes do not defeat ISIS. He said he was not going to comment on that “hypothesis.”
But he stressed that terrorism, which he said was the result of the political vacuum in Syria, should be fought continuously.
A senior U.S. official said degrading Islamic State “is a necessary condition to getting to the political solution everybody wants to see in Syria.”
As long as ISIS is allowed to control “what is effectively a quasi-state the size of Jordan … then the chances of political outcomes and de-escalating conflicts are increasingly minimal,” the U.S. official said.
He and other allied officials say parallel to the military campaign, the plan is to train and moderate rebel forces to fight Islamic State and deploy in territory that would be vacated by the militants.
While the Obama administration has secured congressional funding for training in Saudi Arabia – around 5,000 more fighters for the Free Syrian Army – diplomats said it would take time for the moderate rebels now fighting both the Assad government and the Islamic State to fill in the vacuum.