Iraq Violence : Baghdad Asks For US Help Aug 17, 2013 13:00:15 GMT
Post by Focus on Aug 17, 2013 13:00:15 GMT
Baghdad seeks renewed assistance from the US as bomb attacks and the threat from al Qaeda increase across Iraq.
Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari and US Secretary of State John Kerry
Iraq has asked the United States for new help to fight extremists in the country less than two years after it forced American troops to withdraw.
The request follows a resurgence of violence across Iraq and a renewed threat from al Qaeda extremists.
The White House has largely turned its attention away from Iraq since US forces left in 2011.
But the country has recently been hit with deadly bombings at a rate reminiscent of Iraq's darkest days, stoking new fears of a civil war.
More than 1,000 Iraqis were killed in terror-related attacks in July, the deadliest month since 2008.
The violence has spurred Baghdad to seek new US aid to curb the threat, said Iraqi Foreign Minister Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari.
He said a US assistance package could include a limited number of advisers, intelligence analysis and surveillance assets including lethal drones.
People inspect the scene of a bomb attack in Baghdad's Ghazaliya district
"There is greater realisation in the Iraq government that we should not shy away from coming and asking for some help and assistance," Mr Zebari said in Washington.
He described US interest in Iraq after the 2011 troop withdrawal as "indifferent, completely" but said that seemed to shift as the White House realised al Qaeda's resurrection there.
"Recently I noticed, and during this visit specifically, there is a renewed interest because of the seriousness of the situation and the challenges," Mr Zebari said.
"I think that is because of the threat of terrorism, the threat of the renewal of al Qaeda and its affiliates has become a serious, serious concern to the US."
American troops left Iraq in December 2011 as required under a 2008 security agreement.
Both countries tried to negotiate plans to keep several thousand US forces in Iraq beyond the deadline to maintain security.
But the proposal fell through after Baghdad refused to give the troops immunity from legal charges, as Washington demanded.
Some 4,500 US troops were killed, and American taxpayers spent at least $767 bn (£490 bn) during the nearly nine years of war in Iraq.
Here we go again ffs!! - Fx