Iraqi Prime Minister Warns in Washington That ISIS 'Can Expand Rapidly'

Iraq Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said there has to be a political solution in Syria because the war in the country is “not achieving anything.”

“All it’s achieving is more casualties, more terrorist organizations other than Daesh. There are other numerous terrorist organizations springing up in Syria. I don’t know where we are heading to,” he said during a discussion at the Center for Strategic Studies.

Airstrikes against ISIS, also referred to as Daesh, have continued in Syria and Iraq.

Al-Abadi said the bombing missions must be quicker.

“We’re talking about timescale between asking for a mission and actually getting the mission – that’s vital,” he said.

If the world does not take on ISIS, Al-Abadi predicted the terrorist group would expand. He said the group’s mentality is to kill whomever they disagree with.

“This is a very dangerous phenomenon. If it is allowed, and it can, if we allow it, and don’t do anything about it, it can expand rapidly and I tell you, with what Daesh is doing in recruiting young people, not only in Iraq, across the world, and I stress, across the world,” he said.

Al-Abadi explained that Americans, Europeans, Russians and Chinese are fighting for ISIS and other terrorist groups in Iraq.

“So this transnational terrorism is dangerous -- it’s not only transnational, they try to establish an entity on the ground and no uniform army in the area -- if Daesh has developed this capability, no uniform army in the area can stop them, so they must be stopped now and to me this is a priority. They can extend to Jordan and Egypt,” he said.

CSIS president and CEO Dr. John Hamre asked Al-Abadi what role people sympathetic with Daesh could have in the negotiations to resolve these issues.

“Well, you cannot negotiate with Daesh,” the prime minister replied. “I don’t think you can discuss anything with Daesh.”

He said the smuggling of oil has been crucial to the continuation of Daesh’s operations.

“I haven’t seen much steps to combat Daesh, there must be steps on the ground because Daesh ideas and Daesh ideology is there, it’s everywhere, it’s not unique but Daesh has taken it a step further where they are practicing it,” he said.

Overall, Al-Abadi said the areas in Iraq that are controlled by the government are growing.

“All in all, if you look at the Iraqi map over the last 6 or 7 months, the green areas means the areas that are controlled by the government are increasing and the red area, which is a danger area controlled by Daesh, is re-setting,” he said.