Al-Maliki: US should have given Iraq better arms

Iraqi security forces would have better control over their country if the United States had equipped them with more and better weapons, Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki said in an interview published Thursday by an Italian daily. Commenting on US President George W. Bush's plan for Iraq, al-Maliki told Milan-based daily Corriere della Sera that the situation would not be so dire if the Americans had moved faster. "The situation would be much better if the United States had immediately sent our security forces more adequate weapons and equipment. If they had committed themselves more and with greater speed we would have had a lot fewer deaths among Iraqi civilians and American soldiers," al-Maliki was quoted as saying by Corriere. However, the premier stopped short of openly criticizing Bush's plan to send 21,500 more American troops to join the estimated 130,000 already there.