The 75 missiles the United States is sending to Iraq will help in its sectarian fight against the insurgents in the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), said Gen. Jack Keane, but the Iraqi army would need hundreds more to prevail.
"Seventy-five is better than nothing. But they actually need hundreds of missiles to make a difference," Keane, a retired four-star Army general, told Fox News' "America's Newsroom" on Monday.
ISIS has been successful in its campaign to seize significant swaths of land in Iraq and the key cities of Mosul and Tikrit. The missiles should help the Iraqi army for about three days in their battle to retake territory around the city of Tikrit, according to ABC News.
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Keane said the Iraqi government had been "frustrated with our foreign military sales" in their attempt to purchase a number of weapons from the United States. He said the U.S. "bureaucracy in providing them the equipment they desperately need has been shameful."
"They have purchased aircraft, fighter jets, F-16s, Apache helicopters, and other weapons and ammunition from us. And it's been constipated in this process of trying to get to them in a timely manner, because they certainly never foresaw the emergency crisis they would be in," he said.
Keane said he thought the Iraqi government had the "wherewithal" to defend the capital city of Baghdad. However, "conducting a successful counteroffensive to retake the territory that's lost," he said would "be a challenge."
One of the real issues facing the U.S. advisers in Iraq is assessing the state of the Iraqi army,
Keane said. ISIS quickly gained territory when members of the Iraqi army fled as the militant insurgents advanced.
Does the Iraqi army "have the wherewithal to reconstitute themselves and to have successful ground operations against ISIS? [U.S. advisers] are beginning to understand whether that's possible or not," Keane said.
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