For some critics, it’s not so much Yemen as recent events in Egypt, where the military has resorted to bloody repression of protesting Egyptians, that should inspire caution about supplying deadly weaponry to another Middle East government that has tense relations with part of its population. Others say the US should think twice about providing sophisticated defense systems, given that Iraq has done little to prevent Iran from using Iraqi air space to transport arms to the Syrian government in a war with US-backed rebels.
Yet as Iraq comes off its worst month of terrorist violence since the darkest days of a sectarian war in 2008, Iraqi officials are emphasizing why the US should be interested in helping Iraq battle a resurgent Al Qaeda.
“We want to work with you against our common enemy,” said Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari, speaking Friday in Washington, where he met with Secretary of State John Kerry and other senior US officials in the context of the US-Iraq strategic framework agreement.
Emphasizing that Al Qaeda trains its fire on “both America and Iraq,” Mr. Zebari added, “Nothing will endure that we have built together unless we win the war against terrorism."
Iraq has seen a recent uptick in suicide bombings and other terrorist attacks as radical Islamists shift back and forth across the Syrian border. But July set a new high in violence since the departure of all US troops in 2011, with more than 1,000 Iraqis killed. The latest Al Qaeda in Iraq (AQI) attacks target mostly Iraqi security forces and Shiite pilgrims – the latter part of an effort to reignite the sectarian war Iraq experienced in the years after the US invasion, according to some Iraq experts.