U.S. Set To Rush Military Supplies To Iraq IBTimes UK

The US is boosting its arms sales to Iraq in a bid to help the Baghdad administration in fighting against al-Qaida insurgents.

The White House has said the supply of military equipment will be accelerated as the strife-torn country is undergoing a turmoil that has spawned some of the worst violence in recent years.

Pledging that additional surveillance drones – 10 ScanEagle surveillance UAVs (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles) - will reach Iraq within weeks, the Obama administration has said more Hellfire missiles will also be sent in the coming months.

In addition to that, 48 Raven surveillance UAVs are also to be delivered later this year.

The proposal for the latest shipments has come following talks held between US Vice-President Joe Biden and Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki over the spiralling violence in the restive western province of Anbar leading to heavy clashes.

"The vice-president expressed concern for those Iraqis who are suffering at the hands of terrorists and praised the recent security co-operation between Iraqi security forces and local and tribal forces in Anbar province," the White House said.

Al-Qaida militants had taken control over the city of Falluja and the security forces are preparing to stage a counter-attack to recapture the area.

During a White House briefing, spokesperson Jay Carney said: "We're working closely with the Iraqis to develop a holistic strategy to isolate the al-Qaida-affiliated groups and we have seen some early successes in Ramadi, [the provincial capital of Anbar]. This situation remains fluid and it's too early to tell or make conclusions about it. But we're accelerating our foreign military sales deliveries, and are looking to provide an additional shipment of Hellfire missiles as early as this spring."

Nonetheless, the US Secretary of State John Kerry has ruled out stationing American troops in the Iraqi soil to quell the violence. Following the troop withdrawal in 2011, Washington remains a key arms partner of Baghdad, supplying billions worth of military equipment.

The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil), an affiliate of Islamic militant group al-Qaida, has intensified its onslaught, capturing key cities and declaring open control over parts of Anbar, the province that borders Syria.