US denies pushing Iraq on Mosul offensive

Kurdish peshmerga fighters hold a position at a post in the Jalawla area, in Diyala province, on September 27, 2014The US military insisted Friday it was not pressurizing Iraq to launch an offensive to recapture Mosul from Islamic State extremists in the next few months, saying the timing was up to Baghdad. “I don’t think it’s fair to say that the Pentagon or the military has been pushing the Iraqis on any specific timeline,” Kirby told reporters. General Lloyd Austin, who as head of US Central Command oversees the international campaign against the IS jihadists, recently said that Iraqi and Kurdish forces would be ready by the spring or early summer to start an offensive to grab back Mosul — Iraq’s second-largest city, seized by the IS group last June. A few days later, Iraq’s defence minister, Khaled Obeidi, expressed irritation that the Pentagon would publicly announce a date for the battle of Mosul.

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