Iraqi Foreign Minister: ‘We Need American Help’ -- Al-Qaeda ‘A Mortal Threat’

By Penny Starr | November 4, 2013 | 3:50 PM EST

Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari. (AP)

( – In an interview with National Public Radio on Friday, Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari said that Al-Qaida is responsible for the increasing death toll in Iraq and called on the United States for help.

“We have a pressing security problem,” Zebari said. “We have a capacity problem.”

“We need American help,” he said.

Zebari went on to call Al-Qaida a “mortal threat.”

“Al-Qaida has now resurged in Iraq, and it is a mortal threat to Iraq and to the United States and to the countries of the region,” Zebari said “That's why we really support enhancing security cooperation with the United States, with other neighboring countries to defeat this terrorist network.”

Zebari was asked about the Status of Forces Agreement between the U.S. and Iraq, which was signed by President George W. Bush in 2009 and required all U.S. troops to be out of Iraq by Dec. 31, 2011 – an agreement Iraq was unwilling to renegotiate.

Terrorist-caused violence in Iraq. (AP)

Zebari said that just because troops were no longer in Iraq, it should not end the U.S. “interest” in the country or the region, which includes Syria and Iran.

Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki met with President Barack Obama on Friday and after that meeting the president acknowledged that al-Qaida was a major part of that discussion.

“Much of our discussion centered on the fact that, although Iraq has made significant progress in areas like oil production and a range of other reforms that have taken place, unfortunately, al Qaeda has still been active and has grown more active recently,” Obama said. “So we had a lot of discussion about how we can work together to push back against that terrorist organization that operates not only in Iraq but also poses a threat to the entire region and to the United States.”

President Barack Obama and Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki stay in their seats, Friday, Nov. 1, 2013, following a meeting in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington. The prime minister arrived at the White House Friday to personally appeal to President Barack Obama for more U.S. assistance in beating back the bloody insurgency consuming his country. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

According to a United Nations report released on Oct. 1, in September, 979 Iraqis were killed and another 2,133 were injured in acts of terrorism and violence.

“The number of civilians killed was 887 (including 127 civilian police), while the number of civilians injured was 1,957 (including 199 civilian police),” the report states. “A further 92 members of the Iraqi Security Forces were killed and 176 were injured.”

“Baghdad was the worst-affected governorate in September, with 1,429 civilian casualties (418 killed and 1011 injured),” the report states.