The News Minute | July 1, 2014 | 08:42 am IST
Washington: The White House said on Monday that the Islamic group known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) is fighting to "destroy Iraq", promising continuing delivery of weaponry to the embattled Arab country.
Spokesperson Josh Earnest, in response to ISIL's declared establishment on Sunday of a caliphate in areas under its control in both Syria and Iraq, described it as "a campaign of terror or of gross acts of violence and repressive ideology that pose a grave threat to Iraq's future", Xinhua reported
"ISIL is not, as it claims, fighting on behalf of Sunnis," he told reporters at a daily news briefing. "ISIL is not fighting for a stronger Iraq. ISIL is fighting to destroy Iraq."
He voiced "disappointment" over Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al- Maliki' failure over the years to pursue an "inclusive governing agenda" needed to ensure what he called "the long-term success" of Iraq.
He said Washington was working with Maliki's government and all the political leaders in Iraq toward the establishment of an inclusive government to confront "this existential threat" posed by ISIL.
He explained that the United States was urging Iraq's leaders to reach an agreement on the three critical posts key to forming the next government -- the parliamentary speaker, the president and the prime minister.
"We're hoping that they'll act quickly so government formation can move forward after the first session of the new parliament is convened on July 1," Earnest added.
Washington is sending as many as 300 military advisors to Iraq in addition to stepped-up surveillance and intelligence gathering in the Arab country.
"I can tell you that the United States remains committed to delivering the F-16s to Iraq as quickly as possible," he said, adding the delivery of the first two have been scheduled for this fall.