The U.S. readied to sell Iraq thousands of missiles and a second batch of Russian Sukhoi combat jets arrived in Baghdad as foreign powers moved to help Iraqi forces battle an al-Qaeda offshoot.
Steps to beef up the government’s arsenal came as politicians deadlocked over who will lead Iraq as it risks hurtling into renewed civil war. Shiite Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki is under pressure from domestic opponents to step aside to allow the formation of a broad-based government that would give a greater say to the Sunni minority in an effort to undercut the Sunni insurgency.
Media reported dozens killed and injured in fighting across the country since yesterday.
The risk of sectarian civil war in Iraq, OPEC’s second-biggest oil producer, flared last month after the Sunni al-Qaeda breakaway, now known as the Islamic State, seized Mosul, the country’s biggest northern city, and advanced on other towns. The U.S. State Department has told lawmakers informally that the Obama administration wants to sell Iraq more than 4,000 additional Hellfire missiles to support its fight against the Islamist insurgents, according to people familiar with the plan. . .