IRAQ GETS A WARNING….America’s ambassador to Iraq, Zalmay Khalilzad, warned Iraqis today that U.S. patience with religious conflict is limited:

The ambassador said the US would not continue spending billions of dollars to build up security forces run by people with a sectarian agenda.

“American taxpayers expect their money to be spent properly. We are not going to invest the resources of the American people into forces run by people who are sectarian,” he said at a rare news conference.

Mr Khalilzad bluntly warned politicians from Iraq’s largest group, the Shia Muslims, that the key defence and interior ministries must be in the hands of people “who are non-sectarian, broadly acceptable and who are not tied to militias”.

Khalilzad has to walk a tricky line in his public statements, but this strikes me as a useful stance: not too hot and not too cold. What’s more, if it doesn’t have the desired effect it gives us a prepackaged excuse to pull out later this year.

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