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Pentagon Chief Says Iraq Needs To Strengthen Its Own Security Forces

U.S. Defense Secretary Ashton Carter said during his first visit to Baghdad on July 23 that the United States is willing to do more to help Iraq defeat Islamic State (IS) militants.

But Carter said the offer was conditional on improvements by Iraqi security forces after battlefield failures during the past year that have seen government forces lose large cities like Mosul, Tikrit, and Ramadi.

Speaking as he met with about 3,500 U.S. military trainers and advisers in Iraq on a trip that was not announced beforehand, Carter said Iraq must "develop capable, motivated forces" of their own that can take and retain territory.

His visit came as Iraqi troops, some trained by the United States, bolstered their positions around Ramadi – the capital of Anbar Province which was seized from the government in May by IS fighters.

Earlier this week, Carter visited Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and Israel to reassure Washington's allies about a nuclear deal between Iran and six world powers.

Based on reporting by AP, Reuters, and AFP

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