Iraq expects Trump to continue support, Mosul help hailed

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Berlin—Iraq’s foreign minister said on Monday that the fight to wrest back control of Mosul from ISIS was making progress, citing what he called better-than-expected cohesion within Iraqi security forces and the US-led coalition.
Ibrahim Al-Jaafari said it was difficult to predict how long the battle would take, but more than 1,000 ISIS fighters had been killed, 650 had been taken prisoner, and about one-third of the area had been freed.
“Those are very good signs for the positive results of the operations. It’s going better than we expected,” al-Jaafari told reporters after a meeting with German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier.
“Of course the fight must continue. But it’s clear that the cohesion of the forces and the coalition played a significant role up to now,” he said. Al-Jaafari told reporters that he expected US President-elect Donald Trump to continue to support Iraq in its battle against ISIS, as well as urgently needed reconstruction efforts once Mosul was liberated.
He said Iraq would need a program much like the Marshall Plan under which the United States helped Germany rebuild its infrastructure and economy after World War Two.
“We don’t have agreements with individual administrations. We have agreements with countries,” he said. Strategic support for Iraq had continued despite the transition in power from former President George W. Bush to Barack Obama, and he expected the same during the coming change at the White House.
“These strategies don’t change with the presidents. Agreements are signed and then they are binding for all involved,” he said.
Al-Jaafari said Iraq would not accept any intervention by Turkey in the border region.
Turkey is worried that Shi’ite militias who are supporting Iraqi forces could seek revenge against Sunni Turkmen in the city of Tal Afar, which sits on the main road between Mosul and Syria and has been a center for insurgents in Iraq since 2003.—Agencies