Iraq: US Defense Secretary makes surprise visit

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By Euronews  with REUTERS, APTN
Iraq: US Defense Secretary makes surprise visit

<p>The US Defense Secretary has made a surprise visit to Baghdad.</p> <p>Ash Carter is in Iraq to assess the progress on plans for an offensive to retake the city of Ramadi from the self-styled group Islamic State.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="fr"align="center"><p lang="fr" dir="ltr">L'EI au menu de la première visite d'Ashton Carter en Irak / <a href="http://t.co/v3CveEsLxU">http://t.co/v3CveEsLxU</a> <a href="http://t.co/8QAYpbqABL">pic.twitter.com/8QAYpbqABL</a></p>— InfosMagazine (@InfosMagazine) <a href="https://twitter.com/InfosMagazine/status/624207276350509057">23 Juillet 2015</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script> <p>Ramadi is the capital of Sunni-dominated Anbar province. Baghdad plans to launch a counter-offensive to retake it from IS, but this has yet to get underway.</p> <p>Iraq’s defence ministry has released a video showing what it says are air strikes on Wednesday targeting IS hideouts and vehicles in Anbar province.</p> <p>The campaign will be a key test to see how Iraq’s military manage to fight a campaign mainly on their own, with minimal support from the US.</p> <p>The fall of Anbar has raised <a href="http://foreignpolicy.com/2015/05/26/why-are-the-islamic-states-commanders-so-much-better-than-the-iraqi-army/">questions</a> about the calibre of Iraq’s mainly Shi’ite armed forces and their dependence on Shi’ite militia.</p> <p>There are also questions about the government’s ability to breach Iraq’s sectarian divide.</p> <p>IS militants have admitted carrying out a suicide car bombing in a mainly Shi’ite Muslim district of Baghdad on Wednesday. At least 20 people died. 48 were injured.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="fr"align="center"><p lang="en" dir="ltr"><a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Baghdad?src=hash">#Baghdad</a> bombing attacks kill at least 21: police <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Iraq?src=hash">#Iraq</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Violence?src=hash">#Violence</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Bombing?src=hash">#Bombing</a> <a href="http://t.co/u9LmS88H7A">http://t.co/u9LmS88H7A</a> <a href="http://t.co/hwu9TNtcHQ">pic.twitter.com/hwu9TNtcHQ</a></p>— <span class="caps">SAMAA</span> TV (@SAMAATV) <a href="https://twitter.com/SAMAATV/status/624025726619111424">23 Juillet 2015</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>