US team in Iraq sends its draft assessment: Pentagon

The US military team in Iraq has sent its draft assessment of the current situation in the strife-torn country, a significant part of which has been captured by Islamic militants, Pentagon spokesperson has said.

PTI| Last Updated: Jul 16, 2014, 10:20 AM IST

Washington: The US military team in Iraq has sent its draft assessment of the current situation in the strife-torn country, a significant part of which has been captured by Islamic militants, Pentagon spokesperson has said.

Pentagon Press Secretary Rear Admiral John Kirby said yesterday that the classified document is being reviewed by Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel.

"The draft assessments from our teams in Iraq reached the Pentagon yesterday. Hagel is now reviewing them. He intends to take the necessary time to work through the assessments carefully and thoroughly," Kirby said.

He said additional assessment work continues with respect to the developing situation on the ground adding that the there are no recommendations attached to the assessments.

"Rather, these assessments will help form the basis of any recommendations the (Defense) Secretary and Chairman (of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Martin) Dempsey may ultimately make to the president and to the interagency about how best to move forward," he said.

Kirby, however, refrained from commenting on the recommendations.

"I think it`s safe to assume that flowing from the good work that was done over the last three weeks from these assessment teams that there will be recommendations. I don`t know what they`ll be," he said.

Replying to the questions, Kirby said Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) poses a great security threat to the region.

"We remain concerned about foreign fighters and support, as well as just Sunni extremists in general who are finding common cause with ISIL," he said.

The findings underscore the challenges ahead for the Obama administration as it seeks to confront the militants.

"They are certainly a threat to the Iraqi people. We believe they are definitely a threat to the region, and I talked about that, the porous border with Syria. We remain concerned that they have aspirations elsewhere towards Western targets, to include our own homeland. I think these are legitimate concerns," he said.