BAGHDAD - Iraq's Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki traveled to the United States on Tuesday to press for urgent help and arms to combat the worst upsurge of violence in years.
Nearly three years since the last US troops withdrew, Sunni Islamist militants are waging a campaign to destabilize the Shi'ite-led government that came to power after former dictator Saddam Hussein was overthrown in 2003.
Trained and equipped by the United States at a cost of $25 billion, Iraq's security forces are struggling against Sunni Islamist insurgents who have driven the civilian death toll so far this year above 7,000.
"The urgent thing is to supply Iraq as quickly as possible with weapons of an offensive nature to combat terrorism and chase the armed groups," Maliki said at an airport news conference before his departure.
Stay on top of the news - get the Jerusalem Post headlines direct to your inbox!