Top of the Agenda: Iraqi PM Maliki Seeks U.S. Arms
Iraqi prime minister Nuri al-Maliki is in Washington for three days of talks that will culminate at the White House on Friday, and will ask for U.S. weapons to fight an upsurge in sectarian violence spilling over from the war in Syria (Reuters). A bipartisan group of foreign policy leaders in the Senate sent an open letter to President Obama that said Maliki's government is dominated by Iranian influence, and that its mistreatment of the Sunni minority is contributing to the rise in sectarian violence (WaPo). Thousands of Iraqis, mostly Shiites, have been killed in attacks by al-Qaeda Sunni extremists this year, prompting calls from Shiite leaders to take up arms (AP).
"Various actions by the Iraqi government have undermined the reconciliation initiatives of the surge that enabled the sense of Sunni Arab inclusion and contributed to the success of the venture. Moreover, those Iraqi government actions have also prompted prominent Sunnis to withdraw from the government and led the Sunni population to take to the streets in protest. As a result of all this, Iraqi politics are now mired in mistrust and dysfunction," David Petraeus writes for Foreign Policy.
"It has been almost two years since American troops withdrew from Iraq. And despite the terrorist threats we face, we are not asking for American boots on the ground. Rather, we urgently want to equip our own forces with the weapons they need to fight terrorism, including helicopters and other military aircraft so that we can secure our borders and protect our people," writes Iraqi prime minister Nuri al-Maliki in the New York Times.
"In the early morning hours of Sept. 1, Iraqi gunmen raided a camp in the hinterlands of Iraq where 100 members of an Iranian opposition group lived. Unarmed civilians were running around trying to not get shot while their assailants systematically gunned them down. The attackers were not there to talk. They were there to kill. And they succeeded," Rep. Ted Poe (R-TX) writes for The Hill.
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This is an excerpt of the CFR.org Daily News Brief. The full version is available on CFR.org.