Iraqi PM warns terror comeback

Updated: 2013-11-01 10:15


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WASHINGTON - Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki warned on Thursday that terrorism fueled by the civil war in neighboring Syria may come back in his country, as he seeks US arms to combat the rising insurgency.

Maliki said at the US Institute of Peace that the power vacuum created by political turmoil in the Middle East has created a "second chance" for terrorist groups such as al-Qaeda, as they exploited the vacuum and gradually gained ground.

He placed much of the blame for rising violence in Iraq on the civil war in Syria, warning if the situation in Iraq continues to worsen, it could be "disastrous" for the whole region or even the whole world.

Maliki is in Washington to seek US arms for the Iraqi army.

At a brief press conference in Baghdad airport before his departure for Washington, he said "The most important thing is to provide Iraq with weapons of an offensive nature to fight terrorism and hunt down the armed group."

Maliki had breakfast with US Vice President Joe Biden and Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel respectively on Wednesday and Thursday, and is scheduled to meet with President Barack Obama on Friday. Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari also met with his US counterpart John Kerry Thursday.