'Political solution' needed in Iraq says Obama

Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama said today a "political solution" was needed for Iraq so US troops could concentrate on the war in Afghanistan.







Mr Obama, who has visited US troops, military commanders and political leaders in both Afghanistan and Iraq this week, said the situation in Afghanistan was both "perilous and urgent".



He added that al Qaida and the Taliban there were "plotting new attacks against the United States".



"We must act now to reverse a deteriorating situation," he said.



"We should not wait any longer."



The 46-year-old Illinois senator, who would be America's first black president if elected in November, was speaking in Amman, Jordan, at his first press conference on his highly-publicised trip abroad.



He said he was "extremely impressed" by the "extraordinary" dedication, devotion and skill shown by the troops.



But he added: "We have to succeed in taking the fight to the terrorists in order to protect the American people, as well as the Afghan people."



He reiterated his plan to withdraw US troops from Iraq within 16 months of taking office, but admitted that the US commander on the ground, General David Petraeus, was clear that he did not want a timetable for the withdrawal of US combat forces.



"He wants to retain as much flexibility as possible," Mr Obama said.



"What I emphasised to him was... if I were in his shoes, I'd probably feel the same way.



"But my job as a candidate for president and a potential commander in chief extends beyond Iraq."



He said he needed to take into account the security needs in Afghanistan, the views of the Iraqi government and the potential domestic uses for the money now being spent in Iraq.



Mr Obama added that Iraq's leaders wanted "to take more responsibility for their country" and said: "There is security progress, now we need a political solution."



Mr Obama stepped off his military aircraft in Jordan carrying body armour with orange earplugs sticking out of his ears.



He is set to have talks with Jordan's King Abdullah later today, before moving on to Israel and then Europe.



Meanwhile in the US, his Republican rival John McCain, who is struggling to attract as much attention as Mr Obama, said the Democratic senator has been "completely wrong" to press for withdrawal timetables.



"When you win wars, troops come home," the 71-year-old Arizona senator and former Vietnam prisoner of war said during a visit in Maine with former President George HW Bush.

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
News
ebooksNow available in paperback
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Tradewind Recruitment: English Teacher

Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: My client is an excellent, large partially ...

Tradewind Recruitment: Science Teacher

£90 - £140 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: I am currently working in partnersh...

Tradewind Recruitment: Year 3 Primary Teacher

£100 - £150 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: Year 3 Teacher Birmingham Jan 2015...

Ashdown Group: Lead Web Developer (ASP.NET, C#) - City of London

£45000 - £50000 per annum + Excellent benefits: Ashdown Group: Lead Web Develo...

Day In a Page

Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee