Iraqi Prime Minister Allawi (file photo)
29 July 2004 -- Iraq's interim prime minister, Iyad Allawi, today called on Islamic and Arab countries to help stabilize his war-torn country by deploying troops.
Allawi, speaking in Jeddah, said Iraq needs help to fight what he called "a global war" that must be won.
"This is a global war. These are forces of evil [insurgents in Iraq] who are acting against us," Allawi said. "We are going to suffer casualties, we are suffering casualties. We are going to win. We have to win. There is no other route. And I call upon the leaders of the Islamic countries and the Arab countries to close ranks."
Allawi said the force would not include Iraq's neighbors -- Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Jordan, Syria, and Turkey. Egypt, a regional power, has already said it does not plan to send troops to Iraq.
Allawi made the remarks after talks with U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell and Saudi officials. Powell said discussions about such a troop deployment are in a "preliminary" stage.
Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal said he and Powell had a "preliminary discussion" on the matter during talks in Jeddah yesterday. Powell said the Saudi proposal focuses on bringing Arab or Muslim troops to Iraq either as part of the U.S.-led coalition or as a separate organization that would fall within the framework of coalition efforts.
Also today, Iraqi Prime Minister Allawi said he has accepted an invitation from U.S. President George W. Bush to visit the United States soon. He gave no date for the trip.