White House communications director Jen Psaki said they’re just brushing off Iranian criticism about the fall of Ramadi, as they do most rhetoric from Tehran.
Major General Qassem Soleimani, commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps’ Quds Force, said Sunday that the U.S. did nothing to stop the sacking of Ramadi and “there is no will to fight the ISIL” in Washington.
“If we spent every day worrying about what Iranians said about the United States, that’s all we would focus on,” Psaki told CNN this morning. “The fact is the proof is in the pudding. We have done thousands of air strikes along with our coalition forces. We’ve trained, we’ve equipped the Iraqi Security Forces, and we have taken steps to support them and their needs on the ground, and we are going to stay at that.”
“But the actions speak louder than words there. So we are not going to worry about the Iranian accusations. We’re going to focus on what more we need to do to help support the Iraqi Security Forces on the ground.”
Psaki said the situation is “more complicated than a line” — namely, the line from Defense Secretary Ashton Carter about Iraqis not having the will to fight in Ramadi.
“We have a terrorist organization that intends to do harm to the Iraqi forces and intends to do harm to the region, and even more broadly than that,” she said. “…Let me first say that what Secretary Carter said was consistent with what he was seeing and hearing from the ground. But also the Iraqi themselves acknowledge that there were some command issues, there were some issues on the ground, and it’s something they want to adapt to as well.”
“…But this is a case where the training began late last year. It wasn’t applicable or wasn’t, the Iraqi Security Forces who were fighting back in Ramadi didn’t have access to that. That’s something we need to continue. But then also I think it’s important for people to remember, the Iraqi security forces have also retaken 25 percent of populated areas from ISIL. There are going to be ups and downs here. We need to continue to adapt and we need to continue to prepare them and equipped them with what they need as does the international coalition.”
Psaki said President Obama has been “very clear” about boots on the ground in Iraq to counter ISIS.
“Of course as commander in chief he is constantly talking to his military advisers. We’re talking to our coalition partners. As I noted earlier, we just rushed 2,000 A-24s to the ground,” she said. “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.”