They aren't alone.
"Many analysts say heavy-handed actions taken by the Maliki government to consolidate power in the wake of the U.S. withdrawal have alienated much of the Sunni minority and provided AQI with potent propaganda," Jonathan Masters and Zachary Lamb of the Council on Foreign Relations wrote this week.
And the International Crisis Group argued in August that "under intensifying pressure from government forces and with dwindling faith in a political solution, many Sunni Arabs have concluded their only realistic option is a violent conflict increasingly framed in confessional terms."
That the conflict is increasingly violent is without question.
More than 6,400 civilians have died in violence in Iraq this year, the United Nations reports, 979 in October alone.
And al Qaeda linked attacks have grown increasingly sophisticated and brazen.
For instance, this week, attackers hit a military checkpoint west of Mosul with a suicide car bombing. Gunmen then targeted ambulances carrying victims, police said.
In another example, fighters from the group carried out sophisticated, multipronged attacks on two prisons near Baghdad in July, setting hundreds of prisoners free, including high-ranking al Qaeda members, according to authorities.
The situation has grown dire enough to raise the specter of a renewed civil war there, according to many analysts and even the special representative of the U.N. secretary-general in Iraq, Nickolay Mladenov.
"Today, Iraq is riven by constant and worsening violence, and the prospect of deepening sectarianism casts a dark shadow over the country. These challenges -- both developmental and security -- threaten the very fabric of Iraqi society and test the extent of the nation's social cohesion," he said in a speech last week in Baghdad.
The situation next door in Syria, where civil war is raging, isn't helping Iraq's stability.
Not only are Kurdish officials having to find ways to deal with nearly 200,000 refugees who have sought shelter in relatively peaceful northern Iraq, the conflict is increasing militancy in the region.
"The war in Syria has become a magnet that attracts sectarian extremists and terrorists from various parts of the world and gathers them in our neighborhood, with many slipping across our all-too-porous borders," al-Maliki wrote in a New York Times opinion piece this week.
Although Iraq is technically neutral on Syria's civil war, al-Maliki is widely seen as supportive of the county's president, Bashar al-Assad, for fear of what could happen should Sunni extremists linked to al Qaeda take control there.
"The civil war in neighboring Syria has exacerbated domestic tensions," the Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect, a human rights group, recently wrote. "Many Sunni and Shia radicals have joined armed groups fighting in Syria, while Prime Minister Maliki is seen by some Iraqis as being overly sympathetic to President Bashar al-Assad's government and its Iranian allies."
Given such issues to deal with, it's no wonder al-Maliki is calling on Obama to seek more assistance to help combat terrorism and other security concerns.
Among other things, he's seeking military equipment and other aid to help bolster border security, combat terrorism and tackle other threats.
The U.S. plans to go ahead with delivery of F-16 fighter jets to Iraq next year, and a senior U.S. official who spoke to reporters on background said this week that in addition to weapons sales, greater intelligence-sharing is also likely in the cards.