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Thu, 19 Jun 2014 03:52:26 +0000
(WASHINGTON) -- The United States' confidence in Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki may be waning as militant forces from the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) move closer to the capital city of Baghdad.
At a budget hearing on Wednesday, both Gen. Martin Dempsey, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel laid some blame for the ongoing crisis at the feet of Maliki. Hagel noted that the, "current government in Iraq has never fulfilled the commitments it made to bring a unity government together with the Sunnis, the Kurds and the Shia." While the U.S., "worked hard with them within the confines of our ability to help" the Iraqi government do just that, Hagel said that the solution cannot be America dictating a resolution to the Iraqi government.
Still, U.S. State Department spokesperson wouldn't go so far as to say that American confidence in Maliki is diminished. "He's the democratically elected leader of Iraq," Psaki said, "Obviously they're working through their elections process now. It's up to the people of Iraq to determine who their leadership is."
"There have been some steps taken over the last couple of days that have been encouraging," Psaki added, "but clearly there's more that needs to be done."
Still, Vice President Joe Biden spoke with Maliki and other Iraqi leaders on a phone call Wednesday, offering support and stressing the need for national unity. According to the White House, Biden assured Maliki that the U.S. stood with all Iraqi communities in the fight against ISIS.
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