RealNews

U.S. Begins Big Push in Iraqi Area Held by Insurgents

The American military said today that it had begun a major offensive in the insurgent-controlled desert region of western Iraq, where at least 22 marines have been killed since Monday, in one of the deadliest weeks of the war for American troops. With an important deadline for framing the constitution just 10 days away, the Iraqi prime minister, Ibrahim al-Jaafari, met in the Shiite holy city of Najaf with Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, the most revered Shiite cleric in Iraq. The ayatollah has been the driving force behind the political process in Iraq and has dispensed advice to Shiite leaders such as Mr. Jaafari. Iraq’s major sectarian and ethnic groups are at an impasse over the future shape of the country, which is to be laid out in the constitution. Full Story

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