Obama makes first visit to Iraq after assuming office; Suicide bomber kills 12 in Baghdad; Increasing tensions between government in Baghdad and Sunni militias
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  • US President Barack Obama met with military commanders and Iraqi leaders on an unannounced visit to Iraq on April 7, a day after a string of bombings across Baghdad killed 37 people. The attacks underscored the security challenges still present even as the US military prepares to implement Mr. Obama's order to withdraw all combat troops by August 2010. President Obama on his part admitted that though there had been significant progress in Iraq, much work still remained to be done by the leaders of Iraq's squabbling political factions to reach “equitable, fair” solutions1.

    A suicide bomber meanwhile killed 12 Sunni militiamen at an Iraqi army post south of Baghdad on April 11. Five US soldiers and two Iraqi policemen also died on April 10 in a truck suicide bombing at a police post in the northern city of Mosul. Earlier in the week, bombings in the Shi'ite areas of Baghdad killed at least 44 people. The US-sponsored Sunni militias, the Sahwas, were instrumental in reducing the violence in Iraq but ties between them and the Shi'ite-led government in Baghdad have come under increasing strain due to a series of recent arrests of their members. Delays in paying them have also contributed to rising tensions2.

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