WASHINGTON — Iraq is increasingly turning to other governments like Iran, Russia and Syria to help beat back a rampant insurgency because it cannot wait for additional American military aid, Baghdad’s top envoy to the U.S. said Tuesday.
Such an alliance could test the Obama administration’s influence overseas and raise risks for the U.S. as some of its main global opponents consider joining forces. Moreover, such a partnership could also solidify a Shiite-led crescent across much of the Mideast at a time when the Sunni-led insurgency in Iraq is trying to create an Islamic state through the region.
Iraqi Ambassador Lukman Faily stopped short of describing enduring military relationships with any of the other nations that are offering to help Iraq fight the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. And he said Baghdad would prefer to work with the U.S.
But Faily said delays in U.S. aid have forced Iraq to seek help elsewhere. He also called on the U.S. to launch targeted airstrikes as a “crucial” step against the insurgency.
“That choice is primarily from the need, rather than the desire,” Faily told an audience at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Washington. “Further delay only benefits the terrorists.”
So far, the Obama administration has resisted airstrikes in Iraq but has not ruled them out.
Faily’s comments came as chaos in Baghdad continued.
Despite a constitutional deadline to name a new parliament speaker, minority Sunni and Kurdish lawmakers walked out of the first session of the newly seated legislature on Tuesday, dashing hopes for the quick formation of a new government that could hold the country together in the face of a militant blitz. Hours later, ISIL leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi called on Muslims worldwide to join the battle and help build an Islamic state in land that the extremist group controls in Iraq and Syria.