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 British Fighters on Frontline of Islamic State Information War

It’s estimated that several hundred British citizens are fighting for Islamic State alongside other foreign jihadists More

Pakistan's Political Turmoil Again Shines Spotlight on Military

Thousands of protesters calling for PM Sharif to step down continue protests in front of parliament, as critics fear political impasse could spur another military coup More

Photogallery Ebola Quarantines Spark Anxiety in Liberian Capital

Food prices rise sharply as residents attempting purchases clash with security forces, leaving one person dead More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Native Bees May Help Save Cropsi
X
Deborah Block
August 22, 2014 12:23 AM
U.S. President Barack Obama has called for a federal strategy to promote the health of bees that have been declining. The honeybee has been waning due to parasites, disease and pesticides. Wild bees may be used to take over their role as crop pollinators. Scientists first need to learn a lot more about wild bees, says biologist Sam Droege, who is pioneering the first national inventory on native bees. VOA’s Deborah Block went to his research laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, to bring you more.
Video

Video Native Bees May Help Save Crops

U.S. President Barack Obama has called for a federal strategy to promote the health of bees that have been declining. The honeybee has been waning due to parasites, disease and pesticides. Wild bees may be used to take over their role as crop pollinators. Scientists first need to learn a lot more about wild bees, says biologist Sam Droege, who is pioneering the first national inventory on native bees. VOA’s Deborah Block went to his research laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, to bring you more.
Video

Video US Defense Officials Plan for Long-Term Strategy to Contain Islamic State

U.S. defense officials say American air strikes in Iraq have helped deter Islamic State militants for the time being, but that a broad international effort is needed to defeat the extremists permanently. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel warned Thursday that the group formerly known as the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, or ISIL, is better organized, and financially and militarily stronger than any other known terrorist group. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Drug-Resistant Malaria Spreads in Southeast Asia

On Thailand’s border with Myanmar, also known as Burma, a malaria research and treatment clinic is stepping up efforts to eliminate a drug-resistant form of the parasite - before it spreads abroad. Steve Sandford reports from Mae Sot, Thailand.
Video

Video Gaza Conflict, Hamas Popularity Challenge Abbas

The Palestinian unity government of Mahmoud Abbas has failed to convince Hamas to agree to Egyptian-negotiated terms with Israel on a Gaza cease-fire. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports on what the Gaza conflict means for President Abbas, with whom U.S. officials have worked for years on a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Video

Video Nigeria's 'Nollywood' Movie Industry Rolls in High Gear

Twenty years after its birth in a video shop in Lagos, Nigeria's "Nollywood" is one of the most prolific film industries on earth. Despite low budgets and whirlwind production schedules, Nigerian films are wildly popular in Africa and industry professionals say they hope, in the future, their films will be as great in quality as they are in quantity. Heather Murdock has more for VOA from Lagos.
Video

Video UN Launches 'Biggest Aid Operation in 30 Years' in Iraq

The United Nations has launched what it describes as one of the biggest aid operations in 30 years in northern Iraq, as hundreds of thousands of refugees flee the extremist Sunni militant group calling itself the Islamic State. As Kurdish and Iraqi forces battle the Sunni insurgents, the fighting has forced more people to flee their homes. Kurdish authorities say the international community must act now to avert a humanitarian catastrophe. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Cambodian American Hip Hop Artist Sings of Personal Struggles

A growing underground movement of Cambodian American hip hop artists is rapping about the struggles of living in urban America. Most, if not all of them, are refugees or children of refugees who came to the United States from Cambodia to escape the Khmer Rouge genocide of the 1970s. Through their music, the artists hope to give voice to immigrants who have been struggling quietly for years. Elizabeth Lee reports from Long Beach, California.
Video

Video African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebola

While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid