As violence continues to escalate in Iraq, reports are emerging Washington is drawing up a timetable for the Iraqi government to improve security. On Saturday alone, 18 people were killed in an attack in Mahmudiyah south of Baghdad. Bicycles rigged with explosives went off in a crowded market as people were shopping for the end of Ramadan. A dozen mortars then rained down on the market, claiming further victims. Dozens of people were injured.
Meanwhile, the White House has disputed a New York Times article which claims the Bush administration is drafting a timetable that includes deadlines for Iraq to address sectarian violence and security in the country. The article was published a day after the president organised a videoconference involving top military and civilian officials. The plan, which is reportedly being finalised, allegedly threatens penalties if Iraq refuses of fails to reach the benchmarks.
It’s expected to be presented to Iraqi prime minister Nuri al-Maliki before the end of the year.