Iraq's President rejects Baker group's ideas

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Iraq's President rejects Baker group's ideas

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Iraq’s President has rejected recommendations by the bipartisan US Iraq Study Group, saying they insult his countrymen. The report suggests embedding thousands more US advisers in Iraq’s security forces to quicken their training.

Jalal Talabani argues his country’s problems will be solved by letting local troops control security.

“I think the Baker-Hamilton report is unfair and unjust. It contains very dangerous articles, which are undermining the sovereignty of Iraq,” he said.

The Study Group, led by former US Secretary of State James Baker, also recommends more centralised control of Iraq’s oil wealth.

In the meantime, sectarian violence is escalating in the country.

Gunmen stormed a house in a Sunni neighbourhood in southwest Baghdad, killing nine people of the Shi’ite faith – five brothers from one family; a father and his three sons from another.

The incident comes a day after Shi’ite militiamen burned homes and killed at least two people in the capital’s west. Dozens of Sunni families were forced to flee and seek refuge at a school nearby. They took to the streets the day after to vent their anger at the militia.

Close to half a million Iraqis have fled their homes, since the cycle of tit-for-tat sectarian violence began with the bombing of a Shi’ite shrine in February.