'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
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

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + uncapped commission: SThree: Do you have a passion...

Recruitment Genius: Hotel Receptionists - Poole

£12500 - £13520 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Located on the stunning Sandban...

Recruitment Genius: Telemarketing Executive - OTE £30,000

£14000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: If you seek a friendly workplac...

Ashdown Group: Business Analyst - Kent - up to £33,000

£30000 - £33000 per annum + bonus and pension: Ashdown Group: Business Analyst...

Day In a Page

Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot
Poldark star Heida Reed: 'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'

Poldark star Heida Reed

'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'
The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn