- Unbeliebable: White House turns Bieber petition response into immigration screed
- Obama signs law denying Iran ambassador’s visa, but says law is ‘advisory’
- Mich. judge to laughing convicted killer: ‘I hope you die in prison’
- Man charged in Kansas City-area highway shootings
- Keystone XL pipeline still on hold after State Dept. decision
- Fla. man charged with killing 16-month-old son to play Xbox undisturbed
- Drones from the deep: Pentagon develops ocean-floor attack robots
- Michigan mayor slaps back atheists’ try to erect ‘reason station’ at city hall
- PHILLIPS: Where is the conservative establishment?
- 7.5-magnitude earthquake shakes southern Mexico
Al Qaeda pushing Iraq toward civil war, ambassador says
“In recent months, levels of violence in Baghdad and elsewhere have spiked as al Qaeda and its affiliates are trying to push Iraq toward civil war,” Ambassador Lukman Faily said at the Brookings Institution in Washington.
Six people were killed and dozens wounded in bombings in northern and central Iraq on Wednesday.
The United Nations estimates that more than 4,000 people have been killed in Iraq since April in a wave of Muslim violence between the rival Sunni and Shiite sects. Most of the attacks have taken place in the capital Baghdad.
Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, a Shiite, on Wednesday urged Iraqis to support his government’s counterterrorism campaign.
Mr. Faily blamed pro-democracy uprisings that have toppled long-entrenched regimes in the Arab world since 2010 for creating a power vacuum, which has led to the resurgence of extremism and sectarianism.
“What started off as a pro-democratic protest is sadly sliding toward polarization of communities along sectarian, regional and religious line,” he said.
Al Qaeda in Iraq has forged ties with Islamists fighting the Assad regime in Syria. In April, it merged with Jabhat al-Nusra, a Syrian group that the United States considers to be a terrorist organization.
Mr. Faily said Washington should look at its relationship with Baghdad as a partnership, instead of an “afterthought of events.”
U.S. troops pulled out of Iraq in December 2011. Joint security assistance programs later lapsed because the Maliki government was unwilling to meet U.S. conditions to maintain the programs.
Mr. Faily said the United States fails to understand the Iraqi sense of urgency about its security.
“Our fight against al Qaeda is not one of political discourse. It is of survival and existence, so I think it’s important people appreciate that as well,” he said.
The Maliki government says it has a neutral posture toward the Assad regime, but U.S. officials have accused Iraq of allowing Iranian military fights to ferry weapons to the Syrian government through Iraqi airspace.
Mr. Faily said his government categorically rejects military support for the Assad regime and called on the United States to help Iraq build an integrated air-defense system that could prevent Iraqi airspace from being used to funnel arms to Syria.
“Dialogue has to be the tool forward,” he said. “The current discourse of trying to have a quick military operation will not work. What is the day-after scenario? That is a question I have been asking here. I haven’t heard the right answer yet.”
© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
Ashish Kumar Sen is a reporter covering foreign policy and international developments for The Washington Times.
Prior to joining The Times, Mr. Sen worked for publications in Asia and the Middle East. His work has appeared in a number of publications and online news sites including the British Broadcasting Corp., Asia Times Online and Outlook magazine.
- Amid clashes, White House nixes 'lethal' Ukraine aid
- U.S. rebukes Iran's U.N. envoy pick over 1979 embassy attack
- U.S. missing out on big opportunities in Africa, Liberian official says
- House follows Senate in passing bill to bar Iran's U.N. pick
- Obama admin unfairly pitting China against North Korea: diplomat
TWT Video Picks
Women losing coverage under Obamacare, too
- Scalia to students on high taxes: At a certain point, 'perhaps you should revolt'
- Former Ranger breaks silence on Pat Tillman death: I may have killed him
- Special Forces' suicide rates hit record levels casualties of 'hard combat'
- Feds approve powdered alcohol; 'Palcohol' available later this year
- Army goes to war with National Guard, seizes Apache attack helicopters
- EDITORIAL: Mark Warner running scared?
- EDITORIAL: Republicans finally fight back in phony 'war on women'
- EDITORIAL: More Lerner smoking-gun emails at IRS
- U.S. Navy to turn seawater into jet fuel
- Critics rail against liberal bias for commencement speakers
Top 10 handguns in the U.S.