Meeting with Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel and Gen. Martin Dempsey today, Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki kicked off an effort to get additional US military subsidies by arguing that the ever-worsening violence is completely not his fault.
Rather, Maliki insisted that “regional unrest” was responsible for the resurgence of al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI), and that the Arab Spring was benefiting terrorist groups like AQI.
Maliki insisted that AQI would spread world-wide if his country wasn’t given aid, saying that the group “carry bad ideas instead of flowers.” The group has of course been extremely active in the neighboring Syrian Civil War.
Yet Maliki’s claims of broad political consensus behind him in Iraq seems totally unwarranted, as the surge in violence in Iraq started in the wake of mass protests against his reneging on a power sharing agreement, and in direct response to a military crackdown on the protesters.
AQI may have had a lot of regional help in its recovery, but Maliki’s policy is also proving a useful talking point in the group’s recruitment.