US, Iraq Leaders Vow to Fight Al-Qaeda
TEHRAN (Tasnim) - US President Barack Obama and Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki discussed how to "push back" against al-Qaeda amid the deadliest surge of violence in Iraq in five years.
A statement issued by the two governments said both sides agreed that Iraqi forces urgently needed additional equipment, including attack helicopters to go with already ordered fighter jets to help its ill-equipped military battle armed groups.
"We had a lot of discussion about how we can work together to push back against that terrorist organisation that operates not only in Iraq but also poses a threat to the entire region and to the United States," Obama said.
Maliki did not say whether Washington had agreed to his requests. In a joint statement issued after the talks, both sides agreed on the need "for additional equipment for Iraqi forces to conduct ongoing operations in remote areas where terrorist camps are located".
The statement also noted that both delegations backed the need for "aggressive political outreach" to isolate and defeat the terrorist groups operating in the country, Al Jazeera reported.
October was Iraq's deadliest month since April 2008, where nearly 1,000 people were killed and another 1,600 wounded, according to data from the Iraqi ministries of health, interior and defence. The vast majority of those killed were civilians.
Maliki is seeking increased military aid, such as the Apache helicopters, to help deal with the terrorist groups, but faces opposition on that front from some US lawmakers.
Six influential senators on Thursday took a hard line against Maliki, saying his mismanagement of Iraqi politics was contributing to the surge of violence.
Iraq has seen a spill-over of violence from the conflict in neighboring Syria, where extremist militants have risen to prominence.