- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 27, 2015

A White House spokeswoman on Wednesday acknowledged there have been past “issues” in Iraq but pointed out recent gains in the region and said the U.S. would keep at it.

“Well, I think we’ve seen some issues in the past — we need to address those,” spokeswoman Jen Psaki said on CNN’s “New Day” when asked if the White House believes the Iraqis have the will to fight.

She pointed out that Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi came in amid a time of division where work needed to be done to better unite and equip the forces and said Iraqi security forces have taken back 25 percent of populated areas from the Islamic State terrorist group, also known as ISIS or ISIL.

“He’s done that work — his security forces have done that work — it takes some time, and we’re going to stay at it,” she said.

Speaking about the fall of Ramadi In an interview that aired Sundayon CNN, Defense Secretary Ashton Carter said the Iraqi forces showed “no will to fight,” prompting pushback from Iraqi officials and clarifications from the White House.

Asked if there was any chance of putting more U.S. troops on the ground, Ms. Psaki said President Obama has been very clear on that.

“Of course as commander-in-chief, he’s constantly talking to his military advisers, we’re talking to our coalition partners,” she said. “As I noted earlier, we just rushed 2,000 A24s to the ground, so of course we’re constantly making decisions and taking steps to make sure we’re adapting to the tactics that ISIL and others are using on the ground.”

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