Obama, Iraqi Sunni leader talk security, terrorism

AP News
Posted: Jan 22, 2014 7:46 PM

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama and Iraq's parliamentary speaker have discussed formally integrating Sunni tribal militias into Iraqi government forces that are fighting al-Qaida-linked militants.

Obama dropped in on a meeting that Vice President Joe Biden held Wednesday with Iraqi lawmakers, including Parliament Speaker Osama al-Nujaifi, a prominent Sunni leader.

The White House said the leaders discussed the need for security and political steps to fight terrorism. They also discussed formally integrating local and tribal forces that have been helping the Shiite-led government try to wrest back control of territory. Members of Iraq's al-Qaida branch have taken over parts of Ramadi and nearby Fallujah.

The meeting comes as Iraq's government says it intends to create three new provinces in an apparent attempt to address Sunni grievances and other concerns.