Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki says he's committed to forming a new government, as Sunni militants attack one of Iraq's largest air bases and seize control of several small oil fields. Vanessa Johnston reports.
Thousands of Iraqis line up at a football stadium in Basra Wednesday to register for the army. A mounting Sunni insurgency in the country has killed more than a thousand people in less than two weeks. (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) 34-YEAR OLD VOLUNTEER, MAAN SALIM, SAYING: "We responded to a call by Marjiya (Shiite Islam's highest religious authority), and we came. We will go wherever they want us to go, to Mosul, Ramadi and anywhere. We want to die. We want to die in defense of the country" Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki said Wednesday he's committed to the process of forming a new government -- Despite growing calls from his opponents -- and some of his former allies -- to step down. (SOUNDBITE)(Arabic) IRAQI PRIME MINISTER NURI AL-MALIKI, SAYING: "We will attend the first session of parliament in harmony with the constitutional merits and out of the commitment to the call of the Supreme Marjaiya and out of loyalty to our people" Critics say Maliki has made matters worse by alienating moderate Sunnis -- who once fought al Qaeda but are now teaming up with the al Qaeda offshoot, I-S-I-L. But Maliki dismissed the idea of a national salvation government, saying it would only destabilize the country more. (SOUNDBITE)(Arabic) IRAQI PRIME MINISTER NURI AL-MALIKI, SAYING: "It is no secret to all Iraqis; the dangerous goals behind the call for the formation of a national salvation government as they call it. It is simply an attempt by those who rebel against the constitution to end the young democratic process and confiscate the opinions of the voters and circumvent the constitutional merits. The call for the formation of a national salvation government is a coup against the constitution and the political process." ISIL continues to seize majority Sunni areas of Iraq. Jordanian military helicopters are swarming the border... this, after Sunni tribesmen took control of a border crossing between the countries over the weekend. On Wednesday, militants attacked one of Iraq's largest air bases and seized control of several small oil fields.