In a bid to end violence in his country, Iraq’s Prime Minister, Nouri al-Maliki, has held out the possibility of talks with insurgents. He was speaking a day after a visit from George Bush who said Iraq’s future was in the hands of its leaders. But Maliki indicated dialogue would only be possible with rebels who renounced violence.
The Prime Minister is under pressure to make good on promises to reduce bloodshed across the country. Coinciding with the talks proposal is a new security crackdown on al Qaeda in Baghdad. Iraqi officials said operation “Forward Together” would involve more than 40,000 Iraqi and US-led forces in a sweep to corner the terror group. It is intended to capitalise on the killing last week of al Qaeda’s leader in Iraq, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. But a spate of attacks on Tuesday illustrated the insurgents’ determination to continue their campaign.