By Jeremy Herb
Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has sent the United States a list of weapons it needs to win back control of Anbar province from al Qaeda affiliated groups.
In an interview with the Washington Post, Maliki also said Iraq plans to soon request counterterrorism training from U.S. forces in either Iraq or Jordan.
Maliki said that 40 government soldiers have been killed as the Iraqi military tries to gain back control of the cities of Fallujah and Ramadi, with about twice that many number of insurgents.
The White House has said it is working to accelerate its arms shipments to the Iraqi government, and that the administration would provide an additional shipment of Hellfire missiles in the spring.
The Obama administration has also ramped up criticism of Congress for blocking advanced weapons, including Apache helicopters, from being sent to Iraq.
Maliki said he had no regrets about forcing U.S. troops to leave Iraq in 2011, even as he now was asking for U.S. help with counterterrorism training.
He told the Post that tribesmen allied with the Iraqi government need to be given more time to push al Qaeda affiliates out of Fallujah.
“We will get them outside the city,” Maliki said, adding that the military is concerned about civilian casualties if troops enter.