Maliki says intervention is 'dead end', Iraq on alert

Iraqi premier Nuri al-Maliki dismissed Western military action in neighbouring Syria as a "dead end" on Wednesday as he put his own country on high alert ahead of widely-expected strikes.

His remarks came as the United States and its allies weigh military intervention in Syria following alleged chemical weapons attacks last week in the Damascus suburbs that the West blames on the regime.

The Iraqi leader said on state television that Baghdad had long insisted "the military solution is a dead end that has nothing in it but the destruction of Syria."

"Nothing is obvious on the horizon other than destruction, catastrophe and a civil war that has no winner."

Maliki also announced that "all the security and political forces in Baghdad ... and all of Iraq" were on a "high state of alert ... to mitigate any effects the war might have" within Iraq.

He said that events in Syria had a greater impact on Iraq than events in any other regional country did, and added that those events were "the most explosive and dangerous in the region".

Iraq has sought to publicly avoid taking sides in the civil war between Assad and rebels seeking his ouster, but the conflict has spilled over the border on several occasions.

The US has repeatedly called on Iraq to stop flights allegedly carrying arms from Iran to the Syrian regime. Iraq insists Iran has reduced flights transporting arms to Syria but said Baghdad cannot stop them completely.