News / Middle East

Obama, Maliki Discuss Iraqi Needs to Fight al-Qaida

President Barack Obama shakes hands with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, Nov. 1, 2013, following their meeting in the Oval Office of the White House.
President Barack Obama shakes hands with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, Nov. 1, 2013, following their meeting in the Oval Office of the White House.
At the White House, President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki discussed Iraq's requests for new military and other assistance to help fight resurgent al-Qaida networks threatening Iraq's stability.  

It was their first face-to-face meeting since December 2011, just days before the last U.S. troops pulled out of Iraq.

Iraq's military and police now face a deteriorating situation, with al-Qaida attacks and other violence claiming at least 6,000 lives this year.  Mr. Maliki wants weapons, helicopters, and intelligence cooperation.  

Obama said much of their talks focused on the al-Qaida threat.

"Unfortunately al-Qaida has still been active and has grown more active recently, so we had a lot of discussion about how we can work together to push back against that terrorist organization, that operates not only in Iraq but also poses a threat to the entire region and to the United States," said President Obama.

President Obama mentioned continuing counter-terrorism assistance, and said the strategic partnership remains strong, but did not mention any new agreement.

A joint statement says the Iraqis emphasized the need for additional equipment to fight al-Qaida networks.

Prime Minister Maliki spoke of a "common vision" in the fight against al-Qaida.

"We discussed the details of our cooperation, but the people who are in charge will discuss further details about this.  What we want is for Iraq and the region to be able to work together and we are working in Iraq at the security level, intelligence level, social level, at all the levels we are mobilizing our people in order to fight al-Qaida because is a scourge for the Middle East," said Prime Minister Maliki.

Discussions also covered what the White House called political outreach to isolate and defeat al-Qaida and other extremist networks.  

Obama praised Maliki's steps to make his government more inclusive and to work against sectarianism.

"We were encouraged by the work that Prime Minister Maliki has done in the past to ensure that all people inside of Iraq - Sunni, Shia, and Kurd - feel that they have a voice in their government, and one of the most important expressions of that will be elections next year," said Obama.

A group of U.S. senators accuse Maliki of pursuing a "sectarian and authoritarian agenda" that contributes to the rise in violence.

Senator John McCain spoke with al-Hurra television this past week.

"The violence and killing and chaos throughout the country is now at the level that it was at 2008.  Prime Minister Maliki, who I have known for years, has not been inclusive.  And before we give weapons to him we got to make sure those weapons are aligned with his priorities, which right now is a serious insurgency," said McCain.

Outside the White House, demonstrators accused the Iraqi government of responsibility in the killing of 52 residents of Camp Ashraf, a former base in Iraq for the Iranian dissident group Mujahadeen e Khalq.

Former House of Representatives Speaker Newt Gingrich addressed the crowd, and spoke with VOA.

"Maliki has to be held accountable for the violence that has been done in the country, and for the violence against the Iranians of Camp Ashraf," said  Gingrich.

The Maliki government denies responsibility for the attack at the camp on September 1.  U.S. officials say there is no evidence of Iraqi government involvement, but human rights activists disagree.

You May Like

Video Indiana Controversy Points to Divergent Notions of Religious Freedom

Gay-marriage opponents are looking for ways to maintain their beliefs in face of changing culture, one writer says More

UNICEF Denies North Korean Measles Outbreak

Agency dismisses Russian media report after government, WHO assurances More

Turkey Seen Taking Harder Stance Against Militant Kurds

Stance comes as President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is being seen as moving closer to generals More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Indiana Controversy Highlights Divergent Meanings of Religious Freedomi
X
Jerome Socolovsky
April 01, 2015 1:41 AM
Indiana’s state government has triggered a nationwide controversy by approving a law that critics say is aimed at allowing discrimination against gays and lesbians. The controversy stems from divergent notions of religious freedom in America. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Indiana Controversy Highlights Divergent Meanings of Religious Freedom

Indiana’s state government has triggered a nationwide controversy by approving a law that critics say is aimed at allowing discrimination against gays and lesbians. The controversy stems from divergent notions of religious freedom in America. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Nigerians Welcome Buhari's Return to Power

Crowds of jubilant Nigerians nationwide have celebrated the return to power of former military ruler Muhammadu Buhari. The retired army general won this year's presidential election with more than 2 million votes more than incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan. Buhari's supporters hope he can strengthen the country's economy and security once he takes office in late May. Zlatica Hoke has this story.
Video

Video Report: State of Black America a 'Tale of Two Nations'

The National Urban League has described this year's "State of Black America" report as a "tale of two nations." The group's annual report, released earlier this month (March), found that under an equality index African Americans had only 72% parity compared to whites in areas such as education, economics, health, social justice and civic engagement. It’s a gap that educators and students at Brooklyn’s Medgar Evers College are looking to close. VOA's Daniela Schrier reports from the school.
Video

Video Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadists

At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video Gamma Ray Observatory to Open Soon in Mexico

American and Mexican scientists have completed construction of the world's largest gamma ray observatory, situated high in central Mexico’s Sierra Negra Mountain. The observatory's huge array of water-based detectors will soon start discovering secrets about black holes and supernovas. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Ebola Vaccine Trials Underway in West Africa

Ebola has claimed the lives of more than 10,000 people in West Africa. Since last summer, researchers have rushed to get anti-Ebola vaccines into clinical trials. While it's too early to say that any of the potential vaccines work, some scientists say they are seeing strong results from some of the studies. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
Video

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Tourism is a multi-billion dollar industry in the Philippines. Close to five million foreign visitors traveled there last year, perhaps lured by the country’s tropical beaches. But Jason Strother reports from Manila that the country hopes to entice more travelers to stay indoors and spend money inside new casinos.
Video

Video Civilian Casualties Push Men to Join Rebels in Ukraine

The continued fighting in eastern Ukraine and the shelling of civilian neighborhoods seem to be pushing more men to join the separatist fighters. Many of the new recruits are residents of Ukraine made bitter by new grievances, as well as old. VOA's Patrick Wells reports.
Video

Video Islamic State Prisoners Talk of Curiosity, God, Regret

Islamic State fighter, a prisoner of Kurdish YPG forces, asked his family asking for forgiveness: "I destroyed myself and I destroyed them along with me." The Syrian youth was one of two detainees who spoke to VOA’s Kurdish Service about the path they chose; their names have been changed and identifying details obscured. VOA's Zana Omer reports.
Video

Video Germanwings Findings Raise Issue of Psychological Testing for Pilots

More is being discovered about the co-pilot in the crash of Germanwings Flight 9525 in the French Alps. Investigators say he was hiding a medical condition, raising questions about the mental qualifications of pilots. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.

VOA Blogs

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More