US Vice-President, Joe Biden has called the top Iraqi leadership including Prime Minister, Nouri al-Maliki, and emphasised the need for national unity in response to the violent insurgency sweeping through the war-torn country.
Iraq has been thrown into a crisis after militants captured swathes of territory including a major oil refinery, as the country battles challenges posed by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) group.
“In each call, the Vice President also stressed the need for national unity in responding to the ISIL threat against all Iraqi communities, for coordination on security issues going forward, and for moving forward with urgency in forming a new government under the constitution,” the White House said.
Emphasising the American solidarity with all Iraqi communities in the fight against ISIL, Biden in his call with Maliki discussed the steps required to roll back the terrorists’ advances, and made clear the importance of embedding security measures within a broader strategy to enlist local communities in the fight against ISIL.
“The Vice President underscored that the US stands ready to enhance our support to all Iraqis in their fight against ISIL, the White House said.
Meanwhile a media report said the United States is seeking ouster of Maliki arguing that he has not been able to bring the minority Sunni into the national mainstream.
The US administration is indicating it wants Iraq’s political parties to form a new government without Maliki as he tries to assemble a ruling coalition following elections this past April, the Wall Street Journal said.
“Such a new government, US, officials say, would include the country’s Sunni and Kurdish communities and could help to stem Sunni support for the al-Qaeda offshoot, the Islamic State of Iraq and al—Sham, or ISIS, that has seized control of Iraqi cities over the past two weeks.
A top US lawmaker echoed the same. “The Maliki government, candidly, has got to go if you want any reconciliation,” said Senator Dianne Feinstein, Chairwoman of the Senate Intelligence Committee.
However, the State Department said it is up to the people of Iraq to decide on its leadership.
“He (Maliki) is the democratically elected leader of Iraq. Obviously, they’re working through their elections process now. It is up to the people of Iraq to determine who their leadership is,” State Department Spokesperson, Jen Psaki, said.