News / Middle East

Obama, Maliki to Discuss al-Qaida Threat in Iraq

Vice President Joe Biden walks with Iraq's Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki into the vice president's residence, the Naval Observatory, for a breakfast meeting, Oct. 30, 2013, in Washington.
Vice President Joe Biden walks with Iraq's Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki into the vice president's residence, the Naval Observatory, for a breakfast meeting, Oct. 30, 2013, in Washington.
Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and President Barack Obama meet Friday at the White House.  On the eve of the talks, the Iraqi leader said a resurgent al-Qaida endangers Iraq, the region and the world.  

Prime Minister al-Maliki and others in the visiting Iraqi delegation have met with Vice President Joe Biden, Secretary of State John Kerry, other U.S. officials, and members of the U.S. Congress.

Speaking Thursday at the U.S. Institute of Peace in Washington, al-Maliki said a resurgent al-Qaida, helped by political upheaval in places like Syria and Libya, poses a threat to Iraq and the region.

He acknowledged a deterioration in Iraq and said the world should be worried about, and do everything possible to prevent, the success of al-Qaida.

"We are warning, and we are fearing, and we are worrying [about] the potential success of the terrorist organizations in Syria.  If God forbid they win, we and the whole world should do everything to prevent this, to prevent al-Qaida and other terrorist organizations to win in any country, not only in Syria and Iraq and Libya," said Maliki.

Al-Maliki and the White House voice similar positions on why violence has hit levels not seen since the worst period of Iraq's civil war between 2006 and 2008.  Attacks have killed as many as 7,000 people this year.

He said al-Qaida is primarily responsible for attacks he said target both Sunni and Shiite, though he added some Iraqis are assisting terrorists coming from outside the country.

Press Secretary Jay Carney says the United States is "deeply concerned" about the violence.

"It is important to focus on where this violence is coming from.  It is coming from al-Qaida and its affiliates.  They are trying to provoke cycles of sectarian reprisals, but we are confident they will not succeed," said Carney.

President Obama faces pressure from Congress to withhold new military aid unless al-Maliki agrees to improve governance and address criticisms he has shut Sunnis out of influence in government.

Dan Robinson's interview with Former US Ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker
Dan Robinson's interview with Former US Ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crockeri
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X

Former U.S. Ambassador to Iraq, Ryan Crocker says the U.S. and Iraq need a "joint strategy" to confront the al-Qaida threat, and says existing agreements provide the basis for enhanced counter-terrorism and intelligence cooperation.

But he says Prime Minister al-Maliki also needs to look at his own policies.

"To be sure the prime minister understands that al-Qaida is gaining traction because of sectarian and ethnic tensions in Iraq that they can exploit and that many of these tensions emanate from the prime minister's own policies," said Crocker.

Asked on Thursday about criticisms of the way he has governed, Prime Minister al-Maliki insisted he has adhered to Iraq's constitution.


"The Constitution is ruling in Iraq, the Constitution gives prerogatives, and this is something I state clearly.  Just let me know when I act in an unconstitutional way," said Maliki.

Former Ambassador Crocker says he hopes al-Maliki's visit leads to "more extensive, high-level engagement" with Iraq.

"We need the engagement of the Secretary of State, and the president himself, which we certainly had during my tenure, we need it again," he said.

Crocker serves on the Broadcasting Board of Governors, which oversees U.S. government funded international broadcasting, including the Voice of America.  

Briefing reporters ahead of Friday's White House talks, senior Obama administration officials said they continue to work with Congress on both an overall approach on Iraq, and the question of potential weapons sales.

The officials would not discuss specifics, but did not rule out enhanced intelligence cooperation to help Iraqi forces effectively fight al-Qaida networks coming from Syria.  

Both Prime Minister al-Maliki and U.S. officials have stressed the importance of steps to create a second "awakening" among tribal leaders in Iraq to help confront al-Qaida.  


Recent images from Iraq

  • Iraqi police help their wounded comrades after suicide bomb attacks at al-Riyadh police station in Hawija, north of Baghdad, Nov. 4, 2013.
  • A police officer checks papers at a checkpoint in central Baghdad, Oct. 31, 2013.
  • Residents gather at the site of a bomb attack in the town of Tuz Khurmatu, north of Baghdad, Oct. 31, 2013.
  • Baghdad municipality workers clear debris while people look at the site of a car bomb attack in the Sha'ab neighborhood of Baghdad, Oct. 27, 2013.
  • Women walk near the site of a car bomb at a bus station in Baghdad's Al-Mashtal district, Oct. 27, 2013.
  • A youth takes pictures with his mobile phone at the site of a car bomb attack in Baghdad's Al-Baladiyat District, Oct. 27, 2013.
  • Iraqi soldiers arrest suspected militants during a raid and weapons search operation in North Babil province, Oct. 27, 2013.
  • Mourners grieve as the body of a bomb attack victim is taken for burial during a funeral procession in al-Amel, Baghdad, Oct. 21, 2013.

You May Like

Video Analysts: Beijing Parade a 'Bazaar' of Stolen Technology

Show commemorating victory over Japan in World War II involved long, medium and short range missiles, a range of tanks and 200 fighter aircraft More

Bernie Sanders Surge Reflects US Shift on Socialism

Although most analysts say it is unlikely he will get the Democratic nomination, Sanders' campaign opens up questions and issues that are otherwise marginalized More

Video On IS Frontline, Kurdish Fighters Ready for Offensive

Peshmerga soldiers say although they need more heavy artillery, they are poised to take the fight to the Islamic State extremists on their turf More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Mike from: California
November 01, 2013 12:13 AM
No more our blood, resources, and money. Sell them weapons at insane profits. We spent close to one trillion $ trying to install a democratic government: It is time for them to pay for any material help! All the different Muslim groups hate each other; there will never be a truly inclusive government. For them, in order to have peace, they need a ruthless dictator, even more ruthless than Sadam Hussein. With Sadam, Iraq was a balancing force in the Middle East: keeping Iran and others in check (with constant wars). By invading Iraq, we have really destabilized the region somewhat. We should really leave them alone, let them fight their ideological wars. The only way that wars may end in these regions is when one day a ruthless dictator would unite them. For that ruler to be successful, he will have to be ruthless and many many lives would be lost first. Are we willing to be that ruler? Obviously, not!

by: Markt
October 31, 2013 6:18 PM
It never ceases to amaze me...in one moment the countries of the Middle East are condemning American military action because it is destabilizing the region...then we leave. A moment later, they are complaining that without American military aid, their country is falling apart and they are powerless to do anything about it.
You can't have it both ways...either you want us there, or you don't. Personally, I think we need to stay out of any middle eastern troubles and let those countries resolve their own problems, as they have solved them for centuries, long before America was even founded. It is sectarian, it has always been sectarian and will always remain sectarian. After a few thousand years with the same problem, if they have yet to find a solution to it...they will never find it.

by: Abbass from: Egypt
October 31, 2013 11:05 AM
why not ask for Iranian military aid...?? Iraq today is another Hizbullah center...
In Response

by: Truth from: UK
October 31, 2013 4:23 PM
Iraq is a democracy, and Hezbollah is a legitimate defense organistion. In Egypt your multi billion dollar army is blockading gaza and killing muslims and women

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Drowned Migrant Toddler Photo Triggers European Outragei
X
Henry Ridgwell
September 04, 2015 11:36 AM
The harrowing picture of a drowned three-year-old Syrian boy washed up on a Turkish beach appears to have galvanized Europe’s leaders into doing more to address the refugee crisis. France, Germany and Italy issued a joint call Thursday for compulsory quotas of refugees for all EU states. But there were chaotic scenes in Hungary as police tried to force migrants off a train heading for Austria. Henry Ridgwell has more. And a caution, some of the images in this report may be disturbing.
Video

Video Drowned Migrant Toddler Photo Triggers European Outrage

The harrowing picture of a drowned three-year-old Syrian boy washed up on a Turkish beach appears to have galvanized Europe’s leaders into doing more to address the refugee crisis. France, Germany and Italy issued a joint call Thursday for compulsory quotas of refugees for all EU states. But there were chaotic scenes in Hungary as police tried to force migrants off a train heading for Austria. Henry Ridgwell has more. And a caution, some of the images in this report may be disturbing.
Video

Video Russians Observe 11th Anniversary of Beslan School Attack

This week, Russians have been observing the 11th anniversary of the attack by Islamic militants on a school in Russia's North Caucasus region that killed more than 330 hostages, including 186 children. The three-day siege and massacre that started on September 1, 2004 took place in Beslan, a town in the republic of North Ossetia, and is one of the bloodiest terrorist acts ever in Russia. VOA's Mike Richman reports.
Video

Video Native Americans Debate: Father Serra, Saint or Sinner?

Pope Francis will canonize an 18th century missionary to Spanish California during a papal visit to the United States this month.  But some Native Americans have criticized the elevation to sainthood of the missionary priest, Junipero Serra. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan has more from Los Angeles.
Video

Video Calais School Offers Another Face of Europe’s Migrant Crisis

Europe is facing mounting criticism over how it’s handling its biggest migration crisis since World War II. But not all Europeans believe building walls or passing repressive policies are the answer. A school for migrants in the French port city of Calais, is opening doors and building bonds across nationalities. VOA's Lisa Bryant reports.
Video

Video Kurdish Fighters on IS Frontline Ready for Offensive

Finger on the trigger, the Kurdish Peshmerga soldier stared across the dust at a village taken over by Islamic State extremists. The Kurdistan’s Khazir frontline, just 45 minutes from the Islamic State stronghold of Mosul. And at this point, the militants were less than two kilometers away. VOA's Sharon Behn reports.
Video

Video China Announces Troop Cuts at WWII Parade

Chinese President Xi Jinping Thursday announced plans to cut the world’s largest military force by 300,000 troops. The announcement was made during a massive military parade to commemorate victory over Japan in World War II. The event was shunned by most Western leaders and for some is raising fresh concerns about China’s military ambitions. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video Russia-Japan Relations Cool as Putin Visits China for WWII Anniversary

Russian President Vladimir Putin is in Beijing for commemorations of the 70th anniversary of China's WWII victory over Japan. Putin is expected to visit Japan later this year, but tensions between Tokyo and Moscow over islands disputed since the war, and sanctions over Ukraine, could pour cold water on the plan. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Yemen ‘on Brink of Disaster’ as Medical Shortages Soar

Aid agencies warn Yemen is on the brink of humanitarian disaster – with up to half a million children facing severe malnutrition, and hospitals running out of basic medicines. There are fears Yemen's civil war could escalate as the coalition led by Saudi Arabia tries to drive back Houthi rebels, who seized control of much of the country earlier this year. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Apps Helping Kenyan Businesses Stay Ahead of Counterfeiters

Counterfeit goods in Kenya cost the government as much as $1 billion each year in lost tax revenues. The fake goods also hurt entrepreneurs who find it hard to carve out a niche in the market and retain customers. But as Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi, information technology is being used to try to beat the problem.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.

VOA Blogs