By Loveday Morris
Copyright 2014 The Washington Post
BAGHDAD — Iraq has provided Washington with a list of weapons it needs to wrest back control from anti-government and al-Qaida-linked militants in restive Anbar province, Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki said Thursday, and soon plans to request counterterrorism training from U.S. forces.
The United States is working on providing the medium and light weapons, including another shipment of Hellfire missiles, Maliki said in an interview here in the Iraqi capital. He said he submitted the wish list after a phone call with Vice President Biden on Tuesday.
Maliki said he is seeking further U.S. military training for Iraqi forces in either Iraq or neighboring Jordan, particularly on how to prevent and fight against terror attacks. Secretary of State John Kerry said early this month that the United States was ready to help but would not send troops to assist in battle.
Iraq's military is working with pro-government tribesmen in Anbar province to attempt to secure the cities of Ramadi and Fallujah, which have been seized by the al-Qaida-linked Islamic State of Iraq and Syria. The extremists have been joined by some Sunni tribesmen from the province who oppose the rule of Maliki's Shiite-led government.
Unlike Apache helicopters that Iraq has been seeking from the United States for several years, without success, the shipment of lighter weapons does not require approval from Congress. Maliki traveled to Washington in November to press for more U.S. military support, but the recent crisis in Anbar has added urgency to his efforts.
The prime minister said he is "satisfied that we will achieve victory against al-Qaida." But he also cautioned that the situation here is complicated and intertwined with the bitter sectarian conflict in neighboring Syria.
"The whole region's events are connected," he said. "To solve the problem in Iraq we cannot look at it in isolation from the other events in the region."