- The Washington Times - Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi told visiting U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel Tuesday the fight against the Islamic State group will require more U.S. air power.

“Our forces are very much advancing on the ground. But they need more air power and more … heavy weaponry. We need that,” Mr. al-Abadi said, The Associated Press reported.

Mr. Hagel is in Baghdad to personally assess the political progress of Iraqi officials, as well as the cultivation of leadership skills in the nation’s military. The last U.S. defense secretary to visit Iraq was Leon Panetta in December 2011 when American troops exited the country.

“I appreciated his directness,” Mr. Hagel said of Mr. al-Abadi’s request for greater U.S. assistance, AP reported. “As Iraqi leaders and the people of Iraq know, only they can bring lasting peace to their country if they are resolved to do that.”

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