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Iraqi President Jalal Talabani (file photo) (epa)
August 7, 2006 -- Iraqi President Jalal Talabani says his country is not in the grip of a civil war between the Shi'ite and Sunni communities.
Talabani said in Baghdad today that he believes there is "more than one political force" that opposes civil war. He spoke to reporters with the commander of U.S. and coalition forces in Iraq at his side, General George Casey.
Talibani's comments came shortly after remarks by General John Abizaid, the top U.S. commander in the Middle East. Abizaid told a U.S. Senate committee in Washington that sectarian violence in Iraq "is probably as bad as I have seen it" and that if the spiral continues, the country "could move toward civil war."
Casey today told reporters there is a comprehensive plan to calm the violence in the coming weeks.
Some 3,700 U.S. soldiers have already been reassigned to Baghdad to reinforce security in the capital.