Iraq

Iraq Kurds Look To Baghdad for Assistance in Fight With Al Qaeda

Conflict in Syria not helping

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(Reuters)—When hundreds of al Qaeda fighters in armored trucks attacked the northern Iraqi town of Shirqat with machine guns last week, the local army unit called for backup and set off in pursuit.

But after a two-hour chase through searing desert heat, most militants vanished into a cluster of Kurdish villages where the Iraqi army cannot enter without a nod from regional authorities.

It was just one example of how distrust between the security forces of Iraq's central government and of its autonomous Kurdish zone helps the local wing of al Qaeda, the once-defeated Sunni Islamist insurgents who are again rapidly gaining ground, a year and a half after U.S. troops pulled out.