U.S. mulls military sales to Iraq

Jan. 14, 2014 at 1:15 PM

WASHINGTON, Jan. 14 (UPI) -- The U.S. government is committed to helping Iraq establish national security through foreign military sales, a State Department spokeswoman said.

Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki is working to restore order to parts of western Anbar province that fell under al-Qaida's control. U.S. forces twice battled insurgents in the province before combat operations ended in 2011 but U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said they would be no new U.S. boots on the ground in Iraq.

State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf said during her regular press conference Monday members of Congress were asked to work quickly to get assistance to Iraq.

"We are very committed to supporting them in this way through foreign military sales," she said.

Maliki, a Shiite, has struggled with Sunni complaints he's marginalizing their community in Iraq. He's running for a third term as prime minister in national elections scheduled for April.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon met in Baghdad with the prime minister to discuss the political and security situation, calling for a more inclusive government in Iraq.

"There should be political cohesion, social cohesion and political dialogue, inclusive dialogue," the secretary-general said Monday.

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