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Iraq’s prime minister calls for more US assistance

WASHINGTON — Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki said Thursday that Iraq once again faced a terrorist threat and that additional US weapons and intelligence were needed to roll it back.

“We shed blood together,” Maliki said, referring to the nearly nine-year Iraq war. “We came to Washington to consolidate the partnership.”

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“We want an international war, a global war against terror,” he added.

In an animated speech at the US Institute for Peace, the prime minister attributed the rise of Al Qaeda in Iraq to chaos in neighboring Syria and the collapse of state structures as a result of the Arab Spring uprisings in 2011.

Many critics, including prominent US lawmakers, have said that Maliki shares much of the blame for the renewed violence, asserting that his failure to share power with the Sunni minority has provided a fertile ground for appeals from Al Qaeda.

But Maliki did not acknowledge that political tensions in Iraq or that his own often authoritarian governing style had contributed to the problem. “There is no problem between Sunnis and Shi’ites,” he said. “The constitution is ruling in Iraq.”

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