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Subject Raid on militia drives wedge between allies
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Original Message A CLEAR rift opened between the Iraqi Prime Minister and the American military yesterday after Nouri al-Maliki lashed out at his allies for raiding the stronghold of a powerful Shia militia.
Mr Al-Maliki’s criticism of the US military as well as his Defence Ministry raised doubts about whether the security forces would have the political backing required to tackle powerful militias beholden to parties in the governing coalition.

The Iraqi leader said that Monday’s raid on Sadr City, a stronghold of the Mahdi Army, which is accused of running death squads, had damaged his efforts to convince political parties to stand down their militias.

Zalmay Khalilzad, the American Ambassador, gave warning that Iranian forces could be actively stirring up trouble inside Iraq to put pressure on the US for its backing of Israel in its war with Hezbollah.

“Iran . . . has some forces here. There is the possibility that they might encourage those forces to create increased instability here,” he said. It was the first time a senior Western official had explicitly acknowledged the presence of Iranian forces inside Iraq.

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[link to www.timesonline.co.uk]
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