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US Envoy to Iraq Urges Crackdown on Militias

  • VOA News

The US Ambassador in Baghdad is calling on Iraq's divided leaders to take control of the militias that are threatening to tear the country apart.

Visiting a Baghdad youth center Saturday, Zalmay Khalilzad said more Iraqis are dying from militia violence than from terrorists. He said the country needs to rein in the militias, many of which have strong ties to powerful Shi'ite leaders and are entrenched in Iraqi security forces and police.

His warning comes as Iraq's Shi'ite, Sunni Arab and Kurdish leaders failed again (Saturday) to overcome an impasse on the formation of a new government. The latest talks are aimed at resolving differences concerning the makeup of the new government, including the powerful post of prime minister.

Meanwhile, a U.S. congressional delegation visiting the war-torn country delivered a stark message to Iraqi leaders. The delegation headed by Republican Senator John McCain said the American public was losing patience with the government stalemate and wanted results soon.

After meeting with interim President Jalal Talabani and Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari, Senator McCain said a national unity government must be formed as soon as possible.

The high-level congressional visit comes as several polls show American voters increasingly worried that civil war could break out in Iraq. Political analysts say disenchantment with the war effort could significantly impact the U.S. mid-term elections set for November.

In the latest violence, two separate roadside bombs killed six Iraqis and Baghdad police found 10 more bodies that showed signs of torture.
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