Saving Iraq from Islamic State could take 3 to 5 years: US
then-Defense Department press secretary, now State Department spokesman, Rear Admiral John Kirby - AP

WASHINGTON: A high-ranking Obama administration official says it could take at least three to five years for Iraq to overcome the Islamic State group’s onslaught.

Even then, retired Navy Rear Adm. John Kirby says, the effort “has to be owned by the Iraqis.”

State Department spokesman John Kirby appeared on MSNBC a day after President Barack Obama acknowledged the U.S. lacks a “complete strategy” for training Iraqi security forces.

Asked if the current strategy is working, Kirby conceded “maybe the way we’re going about that needs to be changed a little bit.”

Kirby said the U.S. and its allies could go “all in,” but he said if the problem is viewed only in a military context, “it’s still going to take three to five years. It’s not going to happen overnight.”

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