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Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki pictured after his meeting with Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani (epa) September 2, 2006 -- Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri Kamil al-Maliki today traveled to Al-Najaf to discuss security issues with the country's most influential Shi'ite cleric, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani.


September 2, 2006 -- U.S. President George W. Bush today rejected the idea that Iraq has descended into civil war.


In his weekly radio address, Bush acknowledged what he called the "bloody campaign of sectarian violence," but he
said pulling out of Iraq before victory was achieved would mean the next generation would face a Middle East "dominated by terrorist states and radical dictators armed with nuclear weapons."


During the day, Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri Kamil al-Maliki traveled to Al-Najaf to discuss security issues with the country's most influential Shi'ite cleric, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani.


Al-Sistani's office quotes the cleric as warning that unless security is restored, other groups -- which he did not specify -- would take matters into their own hands.


The meeting comes as 14 Shi'ite pilgrims from Pakistan and India were shot and tortured as they made their way to the holy city of Al-Karbala.


(compiled from agency reports)

RFE/RL Iraq Report


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