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PM Maliki accuses Qatar and S. Arabia of waging war on Iraq

Published time: March 09, 2014 08:34
Municipality workers clean the area in the aftermath of an explosion in the Karrada commercial district in Baghdad (AFP Photo / Ali Al-Saidi)

Municipality workers clean the area in the aftermath of an explosion in the Karrada commercial district in Baghdad (AFP Photo / Ali Al-Saidi)

Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Maliki has accused Saudi Arabia and Qatar of declaring war on Iraq and supporting global terrorism. The Iraqi leader blamed the two countries for orchestrating the latest wave of bloody violence to hit Iraq this year.

In a heated attack on Iraq’s Sunni Gulf neighbors, Prime Minister Maliki leveled a number of accusations at Qatar and Saudi Arabia in an interview with France 24. He said both countries are supporting extreme sectarian groups within Iraq, with a view to destabilizing the country and are “attacking” Iraq through Syria.

“I accuse them of inciting and encouraging the terrorist movements. I accuse them of supporting them politically and in the media, of supporting them with money and by buying weapons for them,” Maliki told FRANCE 24.

“I accuse them of leading an open war against the Iraqi government,” said Maliki, adding that Saudi Arabia and Qatar not only supported terrorism in Iraq, but also sponsor terrorism worldwide.

He went on to warn the Gulf States that their support of global terrorism “will turn against them” and Iraq does not intend to retaliate because it does not wish to “widen the arena of confrontation.”

Iraq's Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki (Reuters / Thaier Al-Sudani)

Addressing allegations he is marginalizing Iraq’s Sunni population, Maliki said such accusations come from sectarians with foreign agendas spurred on by Saudi and Qatari support. Both countries are “buying weapons for the benefit of these terrorist organizations,” he said.

Iraq has been hit by a wave of bloodshed over the past year, with January registering as the most deadly month in the country since April 2008. Suicide bombings and sectarian conflicts across the country claimed the lives of over 1,000 people in January and over 700 in February.

On Saturday violence left 15 people dead, including a parliamentary election candidate and four children, security and medical sources report. Iraq will hold elections this year on April 30 and Maliki has been pushing security forces to bring violence in the country to heel in the run-up.

One of the main conflict areas in the country is the province of Anbar where anti-government militants seized control of the city of Fallujah in December. Since then government forces have been unable to get the city back from the rebel fighters.

In connection with its ongoing fight against insurgency, Iraq will hold an international counter-terrorism conference this Wednesday in Baghdad. Attendees will discuss issues of arming, supporting, funding terrorist groups and training camps in some countries.