BAGHDAD — Iraq’s new prime minister ruled out stationing US ground troops in his country, chiding the international community Wednesday for inaction in Syria and lamenting the ‘‘puzzling’’ exclusion of neighboring Iran from the coalition being assembled to fight the Islamic State group.
Haider al-Abadi has been embraced by the West as a more inclusive leader who might heal the internal rifts that have dismembered Iraq. But his forthrightness in an interview with The Associated Press — his first with international media — suggested a man capable of parting ways on vision and holding his ground.
Abadi praised the US aerial campaign targeting the militants who have overrun much of northern and western Iraq and carved out a proto-state spanning the Syria-Iraq border, saying it has helped efforts to roll back the Sunni extremists.
But he stressed that he sees no need for the United States or other nations to send troops into Iraq to help fight the Islamic State.
‘‘Not only is it not necessary,’’ he said, ‘‘We don’t want them. We won’t allow them. Full stop.’’
Instead, Abadi urged the international community to expand its campaign against the extremists in neighboring Syria, noting that militants coming under pressure in Iraq are retreating back into Syria.
The comments provided a sharp rebuttal to remarks a day earlier by the chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Martin Dempsey, who told the Senate Armed Services Committee that American ground troops may be needed to battle Islamic State forces in the Middle East if President Obama’s current strategy fails.
On Wednesday, the Republican-controlled House voted to give the US military authority to train and arm moderate Syrian rebels, with final approval expected in the Senate as early as Thursday.
However, Obama emphasized anew that American forces ‘‘do not and will not have a combat mission’’ in the struggle against the militants. ‘‘As your commander in chief, I will not commit you and the rest of our armed forces to fighting another ground war in Iraq,’’ Obama told troops at MacDill Air Force Base in Florida.
Last week, Obama outlined a plan that includes a broader military campaign in Iraq, increased support and training for Syrian rebel groups, and expanded airstrikes against the militants in Syria.
Abadi, a veteran Shi’ite lawmaker who spent 20 years in exile in Britain prior to the 2003 US-led invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein, faces the enormous task of trying to hold Iraq together amid the growing security and political challenges.
The Iraqi premier said that the Iraqi military will choose and approve targets, and that the US will not take action without consulting with Baghdad first. Failure to do so, he warned, risks causing widespread civilian casualties as has happened in Pakistan and Yemen, where the United States has conducted drone strikes for years.
‘‘The only contribution the American forces or the international coalition are going to help us with is from the sky,’’ al-Abadi said. ‘‘We are not giving any blank check to the international coalition to hit any target in Iraq.’’
The Islamic State was established in Iraq but spread in early 2013 to Syria, where it grew exponentially in the chaos of that country’s civil war. Following its success in Syria, the group’s fighters rampaged across northern and western Iraq in June, sending tremors across the Middle East.
The group now controls territory stretching from northern Syria to the outskirts of Baghdad, where it has established an Islamic state, or caliphate, ruled by its harsh interpretation of Islamic law.