US military chief in Baghdad amid Iraqi offensive
BAGHDAD - Agence France-Presse
Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, right, confers with his French counterpart, Gen. Pierre de Villiers, aboard the French aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle in the Persian Gulf on March 8, 2015. AP PhotoThe US military's top officer landed in Baghdad on March 9 as Iraqi forces battle the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) in their largest operation to date against the jihadists.
General Martin Dempsey, chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, flew in on a C-17 military transport aircraft. He was due to hold talks with top Iraqi officials.
During a visit to the French aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle in the Gulf on Sunday, Dempsey appealed for "strategic patience" in the fight against ISIL.
He said the training of Iraqi troops and the Baghdad government's willingness to reconcile with the country's Sunni population and leaders were key factors.
Dempsey, whose country launched its first strikes against the jihadists in Iraq in August last year, also said that intensifying air strikes was not an option.
"Carpet bombing through Iraq is not the answer," he said aboard the Charles de Gaulle. France became the second Western nation to carry out strikes in Iraq last year.
He also said he saw no need to deploy more military advisers than the 2,600 already on the ground in Iraq.