Red Eye Chicago

Iraqi leader lashes out at U.S. critics

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Iraq’s embattled prime minister lashed out BAGHDAD at American critics on Sunday, saying Sen. Hillary Clinton and other Democrats who have called for his ouster should “come to their senses” and stop treating Iraq like “one of their villages.”

Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki also lambasted the U.S. military for raids in Shiite neighborho­ods of Baghdad, adding new strains ahead of next month’s showdown in Washington over the future of the U.S. mission.

The grim combinatio­n of ongoing violence and political deadlock have increased frustratio­n in both Washington and Baghdad, with American lawmakers increasing­ly critical of alMaliki’s performanc­e and Iraqi leaders growing weary of what they consider unfair U.S. criticism.

Clinton and Sen. Carl Levin, a Michigan Democrat and chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, have called for al-Maliki to be replaced.

“There are American officials who consider Iraq as if it were one of their villages, for example Hillary Clinton and Carl Levin. They should come to their senses,” al-Maliki said at a news conference.

Al-Maliki denounced recent U.S. military actions in the Baghdad Shiite neighborho­ods of Shula and Sadr City that according to the Iraqis resulted in civilian deaths.

Al-Maliki launched his verbal counteroff­ensive about two weeks before the American commander in Iraq, Gen. David Petraeus, and U.S. Ambassador Ryan Crocker are due in Washington to report to Congress on progress in Iraq since the introducti­on of 30,000 more American troops.

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