Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki is in Washington today and asking President Obama for more American help against what he believes is a growing al-Qaeda influence.
The Guardian reported on Friday that Maliki is on his first trip to the U.S. in over two years. Amidst an onslaught of violence in Iraq from al-Aqaeda, Maliki is hoping that the Obama administration will supply Apache helicopters, F-16 fighter jets, and air-defense systems. The Prime Minister has also expressed a desire for U.S. intelligence aid as well.
The request for further aid will be discussed during a meeting at the White House on Friday afternoon. Lukman Faily, the Iraqi ambassador to the United States, told reporters that Iraq needs more help in dealing with al-Qaeda.
We have said to the Americans we’d be more than happy to discuss all the options short of boots on the ground.”
Maliki has argued that U.S. assistance is vital to helping fight back against the resurgence of al-Qaeda attacks in the region. It is unclear how much additional assistance Obama is willing to provide. The U.S. already provides military aid to Iraq and U.S. officials have said that it is likely that Obama will agree to surveillance assistance, but not much else. The Iraq War has become wildly unpopular, costing the U.S. more than $700 billion and the deaths of nearly 4,500 American soldiers, leaving many to wonder how much more help the U.S. is obligated to provide to Iraq.