2f381fc5c59170adaba23bc800597a53f3009f7dSaudi Arabia and Qatar are supporting militant groups in Iraq and have effectively declared war on the country, Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki said as nationwide violence left 15 dead Saturday. The rare direct attack on the Sunni Gulf powers, with Maliki also accusing Riyadh of supporting global terrorism, comes with Iraq embroiled in its worst prolonged period of bloodshed since 2008, with more than 1,800 people killed already this year, ahead of parliamentary elections due next month. The bloodletting in Iraq, which shares a long border with Saudi Arabia, has been driven principally by widespread discontent among the country’s Sunni Arab minority and by the civil war in neighboring Syria. Maliki, a Shiite, has in the past blamed unnamed regional countries and neighbors for destabilizing Iraq. MORE