Iraqi VP asks for arms, training for Sunnis in his country

By The Associated Press
Posted 4:11AM on Tuesday 7th November 2017 ( 11 months ago )

WASHINGTON (AP) — Iraq's highest-ranking Sunni is in Washington this week pleading for more military aid for his community's militias, hoping the Trump administration will deliver on pledges to counter Iran's influence.

Osama al-Nujaifi is one of Iraq's three vice presidents. His brother heads a major Iraqi defense faction. Both have been represented in Washington by the same lobbyist employed last year by President Donald Trump's first national security adviser, Michael Flynn. Trump fired Flynn in February.

Al-Nujaifi met Monday with U.S. officials in an effort to bolster the influence of Iraq's minority Sunni Muslims — and shore up his power base.

His requests for equipment and training face resistance. While Trump has tweeted warnings about Shiite Iran's influence, Americans officials aren't yet providing direct military aid to Iraq's Sunni fighters.

FILE - In this July 13, 2014, file photo, Iraqi former Parliament speaker and the chairman of the Sunni Arab coalition Osama al-Nujaifi, speaks to the media during a news conference in Baghdad, Iraq. Iraq’s highest ranking Sunni is in Washington pleading for military aid for his community’s militias, hoping the U.S. will deliver on pledges to counter Iran’s growing influence. Osama al-Nujaifi is one of three Iraqi vice presidents and his brother heads a prominent defense faction. (AP Photo/Karim Kadim, File)

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