Iraq's Maliki to US: We Need Patience—and Planes
Iraq prime minister makes plea as he arrives in US
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 30, 2013 12:33 PM CDT
Vice President Joe Biden walks with Iraq Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki into the vice president's residence Wednesday. Maliki meets with President Obama on Friday.   (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)

(Newser) – Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki is in the US ahead of a Friday meeting with President Obama, and he lays out his plea to America in a New York Times op-ed today. His country doesn't need our ground troops, but it does need "training, education, practice—and patience," Maliki writes. Some planes wouldn't hurt, either: "Hard as it is to believe, Iraq doesn’t have a single fighter jet to protect its airspace."

Maliki makes the case that it's in the United States' own interests to make sure Iraq gets all the help it needs to keep terrorist groups, specifically al-Qaeda in Iraq, at bay. On a related note, he wants Iraq to play a role in resolving the Syria conflict to prevent extremists from gaining a foothold in the region. Maliki boasts that Iraq has "one of the world’s fastest-growing economies" and is "on the road to security, democracy, and prosperity." But it still very much needs US help to get there. Click for his full column.