05:41 GMT +321 July 2019
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    Gen. Ghassem Soleimani, a powerful Iranian general, has emerged as the chief tactician in Iraq’s fight against Sunni militants, working on the front lines alongside 120 advisers from his country’s Revolutionary Guard to direct Shiite militiamen and government forces in the smallest details of battle, militia commanders and government officials say.

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    As America holds back from intervention against the Islamic State and the blame game between the US and Iraq escalates, Iran is the only power confronting the militant organization, says a senior Iranian general.

    Major General Qassem Soleimani, chief of the elite Quds Force in Iran's Revolutionary Guard, has said the US military and its Allies are failing to take the fight to the Islamic State, with Iran consequently left as the only power with a presence in the region to fight the militants.

    "Today, there is nobody in the fight with [the Islamic State group] except the Islamic Republic of Iran," Soleimani was quoted by Iranian news outlets as saying on Monday, adding that nations next to or supported by Iran are involved in the battle, but that the US "didn't do a damn thing" to stop the Islamic State's advance on Ramadi. 

    The US does not have the will to tackle the militant's advance, concluded Soleimani, in remarks which come after US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter accused Iraqi troops in turn on Sunday of having "no will to fight" in Ramadi, after the town fell to the Islamic State. 

    The battle for Ramadi was won by the Islamic State earlier this month after a six month conflict, which ended with the withdrawal of the Iraqi army and special forces from the city, the capital of Anbar province and one of the biggest cities in Iraq.

    "What apparently happened is the Iraqi forces just showed no will to fight. They were not outnumbered. In fact, they vastly outnumbered the opposing force," Carter told the US press. "We can give them training, we can give them equipment — we obviously can't give them the will to fight."

    Carter's comments were criticized by members of the Iraqi government, who accused the US authorities of trying to shift the blame for the defeat. Hakim al-Zamili, head of Iraq's parliamentary defense and security committee, called Carter's allegations "unrealistic and baseless," and said that the US failed to properly provide support and equipment to the Iraqi troops. On Sunday it was reported that Iraqi security forces had regained control of the city of Khalediyah, in Anbar province east of Ramadi.


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