- The Washington Times - Friday, March 20, 2015

Army Gen. Martin Dempsey, a key figure in the U.S. military’s occupation in Iraq since the Gulf War, said a recent trip to Baghdad left him with an all-too-familiar feeling.

The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who flew to Iraq earlier this month, said the country’s sectarian violence was “like déjà vu for me,” Agence France-Presse reported Friday.

Gen. Dempsey said he saw a “plethora of flags” while flying over the country, but only one of the official flag of Iraq.

The general said Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has committed to avoiding the political mistakes that have helped boost the Islamic State’s popularity.

“But I made it clear that chief among our campaign assumptions is the establishment of a national unity government,” he said, AFP reported.

Before leaving Iraq, he told Iraqi reporters that the fight for the nation’s soul would not be waged with American troops.

“This is very much your campaign — supported by us — and not our campaign supported by you,” he said, AFP reported.

• Douglas Ernst can be reached at dernst@washingtontimes.com.

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