Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Political crisis pushes Iraq toward sectarian war

Violence fuels criticism of US troop pullout
By Adam Schreck | ASSOCIATED PRESS JANUARY 10, 2012

BAGHDAD - More than 90 people have died in blasts across Iraq in less than a week, including 19 people killed in attacks in the Baghdad area yesterday, while the protracted political standoff between Shi’ite and Sunni leaders shows no sign of ending.
The troubled start of an Iraq era without United States forces has fueled critics of the Obama administration’s decision to remove all forces last month. They question the assertion that America’s long war was wound down responsibly.
Three car bombs exploded last night in the Iraqi capital and killed at least 17 people, sinking the country deeper into sectarian violence, authorities said.
[T]he president’s decision to remove all but a few military advisers and focus on diplomatic efforts has come under criticism during the election year.
“In all due respect, Iraq is unraveling. It’s unraveling because we did not keep residual forces there,’’ said Senator John McCain, the ranking Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee..
Administration officials acknowledge that Iraq is mired in its worst government crisis since Hussein’s ouster, with no obvious answers because of longstanding sectarian and regional rivalries, and newer schisms caused by political maneuvering. The task is Iraq’s now, they insist, with the United States only advising and providing aid.



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