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State Dep’t spokesman: Saving Iraq could take 3-5 years

FILE - In this Nov. 7, 2014 file photo, then-Defense Department press secretary, now State Department spokesman, Rear Admiral John Kirby speaks during a news conference at the Pentagon. A high-ranking Obama administration official says it could take at least three to five years for Iraq to overcome the Islamic State onslaught. An even then, retired Navy Adm. John Kirby says, the war effort "has to be owned by the Iraqis." (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta, File)

WASHINGTON (AP) — An Obama administration official says it could take at least three to five years for Iraq to overcome the Islamic State onslaught.

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

Kirby, the State Department spokesman, appeared on MSNBC 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 also said that even if the problem is viewed in only a military context, “it’s still going to take three to five years. It’s not going to happen overnight.”

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