These statements follow, as AL MADA notes, Haider al-Abadi's interview earlier this week with NPR. Monday, Kelly McEvers interviewed Iraq's Prime Minister for NPR's ALL THINGS CONSIDERED (link is audio, text and transcript):
MCEVERS: The United States has offered more help in the fight against ISIS - specifically, Apache helicopters and advisers on the ground. They say it could finally end the battle to retake the city of Ramadi. And yet, you have declined this offer for now. Why?
AL-ABADI: Well, it's not that, to be honest with you. I mean, Ramadi is almost there. We have control in about 70 percent of Ramadi, so we're advancing very well. But what we need this support - we didn't turn it down as such, but what we need this support for is we have a problem with the borders with Syria. You know that Daesh is controlling both sides of the border, on Syrian side, on the Iraqi side. There are many foreign terrorists who are crossing from Turkey to Syria to Iraq. And there's a lot of smuggling of oil and other things to finance the terror machine of Daesh, and this ought to be stopped.
MCEVERS: What is your sense of why you haven't gotten that help at the borders so far?
AL-ABADI: Well, we had been told this is massive thing; it's very long, that border. There's a desert, they have to watch everything there. They need many manpowers and many resources. They don't have that resources. But I think that that support must be quite wide, and you need a lot of intelligence there because Daesh, again, is learning from what we are doing. Daesh is moving in very small convoys. Sometimes you - it's very hard to differentiate them from civilians, so you need much more intelligence, much more air reconnaissance, much more missions to combat Daesh. This means much, much more resources than we have at the moment, to be honest with you. Sometimes I get frustrated, sometimes we get frustrated at this end. But of course, this is beyond us. I mean, I don't - we don't own this international coalition support. We have to say thank you to them because they're providing help for us. But I have to admit, still - this support and this air cover is still limited.
MCEVERS: With all due respect, in some ways it sounds like you want it both ways. You have to reject too much U.S. support because of pressures from certain parties in Iraq, but yet you're asking for more support than you're getting now.
Meanwhile, in Kirkuk, Christmas is being observed. ALSUMARIA reports that the Chaldean Church has held mass. NATIONAL IRAQI NEWS AGENCY adds that Ayad Allawi issued a statment congratulating the Iraqi people and Muslims and Christians throughout the world on the anniversary of the birth of the Prophet Mohammed and on the anniversary of the birth of Jesus Christ while hoping that the coming year finds Iraq free of the "scourge of war" and terrorism and that the country -- and the world -- can strive towards the teachings of tolerance in Islam and Christianity. He declared that attempts to purge the region of Christians should be seen as an attack on Muslims as well and the unity of the entire community.
There will be a snapshot later today.