By Mick Krever, CNN
Iraqi President Fuad Masum appealed for international support to fight ISIS in an interview with CNN’s Christiane Amanpour on Thursday.
“If there is cooperation and coordination between Iraq and the United States, and the neighboring countries, I believe that that organization can be quickly wiped out.”
NATO has not received any request for support from Iraq, Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said Thursday, but any application would be “considered seriously.”
Amanpour put that to President Masum.
“From here, and through this interview with you, I request … support for Iraq, to fight those terrorists, because Iraq now is in a fragile situation, very vulnerable situation.”
“And when that organization defeats Iraq, it can proceed to other countries.”
The Iraqi President confirmed that his country had not appealed to NATO, but has asked for help from individual NATO countries, such as the United States.
“We need several things: we need expertise, we need know-how, we need some types of weapons that can be only obtained through agreements. But individuals, or boots on the ground – maybe we don’t need that.”
Iraq has its own military, he said, albeit one that may need “rehabilitation.”
U.S. President Barack Obama has authorized airstrikes against ISIS in Iraq to protect American interests, but is under pressure to do more in the wake of the brutal ISIS executions of two American journalists.
President Masum said that those airstrikes have been a “very decisive factor.”
Amanpour asked whether it was indeed a historic combination of U.S. airstrikes, combined with Iraqi fighters and Iranian militiamen, that helped liberate the town of Amerli; President Masum confirmed that it was.
“Gradually we are hopeful that we will wipe that organization completely in Iraq, and follow them wherever they are – even if we have to follow their sleeping cells in many other countries.”
ISIS enjoys a stronghold in Syria, which is three and a half years into its bloody civil war.
“It is important to strike ISIS wherever it is, because if ISIS takes over Syria then the danger will remain. If we can follow ISIS into Syria, we can do that through cooperation with other powers in Syria until we wipe it out.”
Meanwhile, questions remain over the formation of a new Iraqi government, since Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki said he would step down from his post.
The country’s Prime Minister-designate, Haider al-Abadi, has been tasked with forming a new government.
“In the next few days…the formation of the new government will be declared. It will be inclusive of Shiites, Sunnis, and all other components of Iraq,” President Masum said.