Iraqi Prime Minister Welcomes Russian Airstrikes Against ISIS

Iraq has not received enough air support from the US-led coalition against ISIS and would welcome airstrikes from Russia, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi told France 24 television at the UN General Assembly on Thursday. Coalition spokesman Army Col. Steve Warren countered the claim during a Pentagon briefing on Thursday, saying he understands the frustration stemming from wanting a swift end to the fight, but the US has provided a “tremendous amount of airpower to this fight.” He added, “If I were an Iraqi, no amount of support would be enough.” Abadi said Iraq was expecting the coalition to bring “massive air power,” but instead there’s been limited support. With Russia beginning strikes in neighboring Syria, Abadi said he would welcome Russian help in battling ISIS inside Iraq, but he has not discussed it with Russia yet. Another factor complicating the relationship between Iraq and the coalition is the sharing of intelligence. Warren said the US has expressed concerns with Iraq about sharing intelligence with the governments of Syria, Iran, and Russia. In response, Iraq has promised to protect any intelligence, though Abadi said Iraq has received helpful intelligence from Syria and Russia in its fight against ISIS. (Warren transcript.)