Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki defended his government’s counterterrorism strategy and vowed to defeat al Qaeda as bombs exploded in Baghdad and another Iraqi city on Tuesday, killing at least 49 people.

Maliki said the battle against militancy in Iraq was part of a larger struggle emanating from the civil war in Syria that poses a threat to the wider Middle East and the entire world, and appealed for international support.

“Iraq has defeated al Qaeda before, and we have a holistic strategy to defeat al Qaeda again,” Maliki wrote in an editorial published on Tuesday on the website of U.S. international affairs journal Foreign Policy.