Iraq fails to meet reform goals, report says

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Attacks in Baghdad yesterday killed at least 13 persons. Prominent Shi’ite and Sunni politicians called on Iraqi civilians to take up arms to defend themselves after a weekend of violence, including one of the deadliest attacks in the four-year Iraqi conflict, that took more than 220 lives.

The burst of violence comes at a sensitive time. U.S. forces are waging offensives in and around Baghdad aimed at bringing calm to the capital.

“In our estimations, until Iraqi forces are ready, there is a responsibility on the United States to stand with the [government] as the forces are being built,” Mr. Zebari said.

Senior Iraqi officials are calling on civilians to arm themselves and fight insurgents, reflecting growing frustration with Iraqi security forces’ inability to prevent terrorist attacks — like Saturday’s suicide truck bombing in the Shi’ite town of Armili, north of Baghdad, which killed more than 160 people, according to the latest toll from police and officials.

The attack on Armili — a town of Shi’ites from the Turkoman ethnic minority — indicated extremists are moving farther north to unprotected regions.

“People have a right to expect from the government and security agencies protection for their lives, land, honor and property,” Iraq’s Sunni Arab vice president, Tariq al-Hashemi, said yesterday.

“But in the case of [their] inability, the people have no choice but to take up their own defense,” Mr. al-Hashemi said.

Violence continued in Baghdad yesterday, with a roadside bomb and two cars wired with explosives that killed eight around the capital and the discovery of a body with bullet wounds and torture marks dumped in the street, an apparent victim of sectarian death squads.

Two soldiers and two policemen died in a gunbattle in the Sunni neighborhood of Azamiyah.

Fifty miles north of the capital, a roadside bomb exploded near an Iraqi military bus, killing nine Iraqi soldiers and injuring 21, according to an officer with the Iraqi 4th Division.

Iraqi commanders say U.S. and Iraqi troops are making progress in a three-pronged security sweep that began in mid-June — one in Baghdad, another to the northeast in Baqouba and the third to the south.

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