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Iraq's PM under mounting fire as US holds back on strikes

Published on Jun 20, 2014 8:05 PM
 
Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki speaking during a political meeting in Baghdad, on Jan 11, 2014. Iraq's leader faced mounting criticism on Friday, June 20, 2014 for his Shi'ite-led government's failure to do more to woo the Sunni Arab minority as US President Barack Obama promised military advisers but no immediate air strikes. -- PHOTO: AFP 

BAGHDAD (AFP) - Iraq's leader faced mounting criticism on Friday for his Shi'ite-led government's failure to do more to woo the Sunni Arab minority as US President Barack Obama promised military advisers but no immediate air strikes.

Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki - once seen as acceptable to both long-time foes Iran and the US - was criticised by a litany of American officials as well as Iraq's most revered Shi'ite cleric, who also warned that time was running out to expel Sunni militants who have seized a vast swathe of northern and north-central Iraq.

Mr Obama, who based his political career on ending US involvement in Iraq, has insisted the United States was not slipping back into the morass, and warned Mr Maliki and his Shi'ite ally Iran that promoting sectarianism would spell disaster.

Teheran hit back, saying that Mr Obama lacked a "serious will" to fight terrorism after he left unheeded a request from Baghdad for US air strikes against the militants.

 
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