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Iraqi Ambassador: New Iraq Chooses Its Own Partners

Days after al-Qaida militants raised their flag over government buildings in Fallujah, the Iraqi ambassador to the United States says his country is turning to Russia for help.

In an interview with VOA , Lukman Faily says the recent terrorist takeover in Fallujah and other parts of Anbar province has created a new urgency within the Iraqi government.

"We are under no obligation to work with only one partner, whether it's Iranians, or Americans or Russians or French. No."

The White House has called for aid for Iraq, but U.S. lawmakers have for months blocked approval for the delivery of Apache helicopters.

The lawmakers first want assurances the aircraft will not be used against Iraqi civilians in the politically-divided nation. The legislators also say they want to see Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki stop allowing Iranian deliveries of military aid to Syria using Iraqi airspace.

Faily counters that Iraq cannot prevent the influx of fighters entering Syria from Iraq.

"If people go to some other country and then go to Syria, we can't control that. But, let's put it this way. Has the government supported it? No."

Watch VOA interview with Iraqi ambassador to the U.S., Lukman Faily:

Voice of America Interview With Iraqi Ambassador Lukman Failyi
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January 13, 2014 7:59 PM
VOA's Persian service interviewed Iraqi ambassador to the United States Lukman Faily.

Republican Party leaders from House Speaker John Boehner to Senator John McCain have criticized President Barack Obama's policies on both sides of the Syria-Iraq border. Boehner says the president has not been sufficiently engaged on Iraq, instead designating those responsibilities to Vice President Joe Biden. The White House has rejected that critique. Boehner did not offer specifics on his criticism.

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