Iraqi PM Haider al-Abadi has said in an interview with DW that Baghdad is readying a full offensive against "Islamic State." He has asked Germany for aid in rebuilding the cities that government forces have retaken.
Iraq's government is planning a new all-out campaign against "Islamic State" (IS), Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said. In an interview with DW's "Conflict Zone," he said the goal was to recapture Iraq's second city of Mosul, which has been occupied by IS since June 2014.
"That's what we intend to do," Abadi said. "We started the plans last week. We sent the first of our forces to Mosul. They are there now. And we're planning, probably in the coming month, to start a full military operation to retake the city."
Abadi was confident that his army was better prepared than it had been in 2014, when IS militants swept through Iraq and Syria, capturing large swaths of terrority.
"Training is crucial for us," he told DW's Tim Sebastien. "In Mosul, 32,000 local police just fled when a few 'Islamic State' militants came to the city. We don't want a repetition of that."
Abadi said the army had "a new self trust in our military forces: We have moved quite a long way." He added that this had a great deal to do with the recapture of Ramadi at the end of December. It was the government's first major victory against IS for several months and signaled a turnaround in morale.
Back from the 'edge of a complete breakdown'
"We are ready," Abadi said and added that, a year and a half ago, Iraq was "on the edge of a complete breakdown," but now "we are in a much better position than back then."
Abadi was in Berlin to meet with German Chancellor Angela Merkel. The Iraqi leader said he asked her for training and equipment to remove explosives that are impeding government efforts to resettle displaced citizens back into their old homes.
"Germany has the expertise," Abadi said. "And they have the equipment. ... If Germany can train the police, I very much will welcome it."