The United States and Iraq have agreed that urgent military supplies are needed to fight al-Qaeda groups in remote parts of Iraq.
US President Barack Obama met visiting Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki on November 1. They discussed an upsurge in sectarian violence spilling over the Syrian border.
After their private meeting in the White House, the Obama addressed reporters, saying: “Iraq made significant progress in areas like oil production and a range of other reforms that have taken place. Unfortunately Al-Qeada has been more active recently. So we had a lot of discussions of how can we work together.”
Maliki said he wants Iraqi elections scheduled for next year to be held on time. He is in total agreement with Obama on the need for a peaceful solution in Iraq where an estimated 7,000 civilians have been killed this year.
As the two leaders met, Iranian-American opponents of Maliki demonstrated across the road from the White House.
Carrying posters and chanting anti-Maliki slogans, protesters urged Obama to question Maliki about the September 1 massacre at Camp Ashraf, an Iranian dissident camp north of Iraqi capital Baghdad. The attack killed 52 Iranians and seven camp residents remain unaccounted for.
The dissidents belong to the Mujahadin-e-Khalq (MEK), which wants Iran’s clerical leaders overthrown, and are no longer welcome in Iraq under the Tehran-alligned, Shi’ite Muslim-led government that replaced late Sunni dictator Saddam Hussein.
Protester Angela Mostashari said she came all the way from California to be “a voice for the voiceless:”
“I am protesting President Obama’s support for Maliki. I protest the fact that he’s here to get more aid and more arms and he’s lying to the United States saying he wants it for more al Qeada, to combat al Qeada where we know he had a close ally to the Iranian regime and to al Qaeda himself,” she said.
Protester Rev. Maryam Jam said she came to give a message to Obama: “We just want to ask President Obama why this terrorist should be let in the White House and why you are shaking hands with such a person who is in charge of a lot of terrorist acts in Iraq, who has a close relation with Iranian terrorist regime and in charge of killing of innocent Syrian people in Syria,” she said.