During a visit to the Middle East, Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter called on the Gulf oil states to help Iraq battle the Islamic State and rebuild from the devastation left by ISIS.
“For the defeat of ISIL to stick in Iraq and Syria, these badly broken places destroyed by ISIL, pillaged by ISIL, mistreated by ISIL, are going to need to be rebuilt,” said Ash Carter, as reported by Reuters.
“Iraqis want to get ISIL off their territory, and after they do that, they want to get back to some sort of normal life, and that’s going to take some economic and political help, as well as military help, and so even as we’re looking to make contributions in all three of those areas, so also can the Gulf partners, and we’ll want to talk to them about that,” Carter added.
Carter noted that the difficulties facing Iraq’s economy have been exacerbated by the recent slump in oil prices, leading to predictions of a $30 billion budget deficit for Iraq this year.
Fortunately, the Islamic State has also been suffering financial difficulties, with a report published this weekend estimating the terror state’s monthly revenue has fallen by 30 percent over the past year.
Carter also said the United States shares “the concern by everyone in the region” over the possibility of “Iranian aggression and malign influence,” according to a Rudaw report.
The Associated Press reports that Carter is visiting Baghdad on Monday, to “talk to Iraqi leaders about beefing up Iraqi forces working to retake the northern city of Mosul, a critical goal in the effort to defeat Islamic State.”
The AP reports that increased U.S. airstrikes and cyberattacks could be used against the Islamic State in Mosul, while senior U.S. officials also acknowledged that more American troops will become involved, and will be moved closer to the front lines of combat.