U.S. VICE PRESIDENT, BIDEN VISITS IRAQ AMID CRISIS; PLEDGES SUPPORT

U.S. VICE PRESIDENT, BIDEN VISITS IRAQ AMID CRISIS; PLEDGES SUPPORT

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U.S. Vice President, Joe Biden takes the time to talk to more than a hundred Airmen and soldiers after the United States Forces-Iraq ceremony in the Al Faw Palace at Victory Base Complex, Iraq, Dec. 1, 2011. The ceremony commemorated the sacrifices and accomplishments of U.S. and Iraqi service members. Vice President Biden shook hands, took pictures and provided each service member a coin. (U.S. Air Force photo/Master Sgt. Cecilio Ricardo)

U.S. VICE PRESIDENT, BIDEN VISITS IRAQ AMID CRISIS; PLEDGES SUPPORT

– Biden visits Iraq in show of support amid multiple crisis

– Mosul should be recaptured from ISIL before Obama leaves in January

U.S. VICE PRESIDENT, BIDEN VISITS IRAQ AMID CRISIS; PLEDGES SUPPORT
Joe Biden, U.S. Vice President and Haideral-Abadi, Iraqi Prime Minister

U.S. VICE PRESIDENT, BIDEN VISITS IRAQ AMID CRISIS; PLEDGES SUPPORT

The Vice President of the United States, Joe Biden met Iraqi Prime Minister Haideral-Abadi and other high-profile officials in undisclosed visits to Baghdad and Ebril on Thursday.

The U.S. official had embarked on the trip to express support for a government contending against Islamic State (ISIL) in the face of political and economic crisis.

Since the U.S. forces withdrew in 2011, this was the first of its kind for Biden, the White House’s point person on Iraq, after close to nine years of occupation.

U.S. VICE PRESIDENT, BIDEN VISITS IRAQ AMID CRISIS; PLEDGES SUPPORT

U.S. VICE PRESIDENT, BIDEN VISITS IRAQ AMID CRISIS; PLEDGES SUPPORT
Joe Biden

Biden was the reportedly the third and highest ranking official to visit Iraq this month.

He was the third and highest-level U.S. official to visit the country this month.

ISIL seized large portions of Iraq and neighboring Syria in 2014. Iraqi forces have reclaimed some territories, such as the western city of Ramadi.

But usually, the victory comes after long battles that have consumed many areas.

The trip of the U.S. Vice President had been in long-term plans. It was observed that the activity was symbolic of the progress Washington believes Iraqi forces have made in conquering militants over the past year.

It is anticipated that  the northern city of Mosul can be recaptured before U.S. President Barack Obama concludes his term in office in January.

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“This is a good indication of the United States’ continued support for Prime Minister Abadi’s efforts to unify the nation of Iraq to confront ISIL,” White House spokesman Josh Earnest said.

The vice president has close relationships with Iraqi leaders and speaks with them about every 10 days. Still, “there’s no substitute for being able to sit down face-to-face,” a U.S. official said.

Biden was an old U.S. senator before becoming vice president in 2009. He claimed that he had been to Iraq almost 30 times during his career.

On Thursday, his first stopover was Baghdad where he met Abadi and Parliament Speaker Salim al-Jabouri to discuss “progress” in the fight against Islamic State, including plans to retake Mosul.

“It’s real. It’s serious. It’s committed,” Biden disclosed to reporters.

U.S. VICE PRESIDENT, BIDEN VISITS IRAQ AMID CRISIS; PLEDGES SUPPORT

According to Iraqi officials, they will reclaim Mosul this year. But privately, may questions are being asked on the possibility of such.

Biden is allegedly optimistic that some progress can be made before the life-threatening summer heat, a senior administration official said.

Afterwards, he flew to Erbil, the capital of Iraq’s autonomous Kurdish region. He went for a 90-minute working dinner with the Kurdistan region’s president, Massoud Barzani.

Their topic of discourse centred on the Mosul offensive in which Kurdish peshmerga forces are expected to have a critical role.

The peshmerga have emerged as a key component of a U.S.-led coalition’s strategy to “degrade and destroy” Islamic State, driving the insurgents back in northern Iraq with the help of air strikes despite a financial crisis that has made it difficult to pay salaries.