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(Federal/State Govt. / Local Govt./Govt. Bodies) Iraq
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Iraq's Prime Minister, President in public quarrel     
Iraq's presidential council has taken the unusual step of publicly criticising the Shiite Prime Minister after he berated them for their opposition to councils of loyal tribesmen in several Iraqi provinces.?

The quarrel is the latest in a series of political setbacks that underline enduring rivalries between Iraq's political factions as the country struggles to find its footing after years of brutal violence.?

The dispute between Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, President Jalal Talabani and Talabani's two deputies comes with Iraqis already polarised by a proposed security agreement with the United States that would allow American troops to stay in Iraq for three more years.?

Groups opposed to the pact say it enshrines what they see as Iraq's occupation. Proponents, like al-Maliki, say it is the only viable way for Iraq to regain its full sovereignty by 2012.?

At the centre of the new dispute between al-Maliki and Talabani are the "support councils" made up of pro-government tribesmen that began to spring up earlier this year when the prime minister took charge of military operations against Shiite militias in southern Iraq.?

The councils were seen by many as an attempt by the prime minister ahead of Jan 31 provincial elections to create a support base in areas where his Shiite rivals dominate or, in Sunni areas, to counter the weight of US-backed groups made up of tribesmen and former insurgents.?

Al-Maliki has said the councils are needed as a backup for official security forces, similar to the Sunni groups that joined forces with the Americans against al-Qaida in Iraq.?
Iraq 's City :
Iraq 's Country : Iraq
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