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Iraqi Vice President Discusses Political Crisis in Baghdad

Amidst continuing violence in Iraq and waning American support, Iraqi politicians struggle to bring peace and order. Iraqi Vice President Tariq Al-Hashimi, a Sunni leader, speaks about the political crisis in Baghdad and what can be done to improve the situation.

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  • RAY SUAREZ:

    President Bush has been busy the past two weeks, reaching out to key Iraqi political leaders. Last week at the White House, the visitor was Abdul Aziz al-Hakim, the leader of the Iran-backed Shiite party, the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq.

    Hakim is a rival of the Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, who controls a militia known as the Mahdi Army. Sadr's allies are a major part of the current Iraq government.

    Hakim's visit came amid reports that several Iraqi factions were maneuvering to reduce Sadr's political clout and the role of the Mahdi Army, which has been accused of deepening sectarian violence and killing Sunni Arabs. In an interview with the NewsHour, I asked Hakim about Sadr's Mahdi Army.

    Would you like to see them disarm?

  • ABDUL AZIZ AL-HAKIM, Iraqi Shiite Cleric (through translator):

    I want to see all committed with the political process, with the law, with order. This is the will of all the Iraqis.

  • RAY SUAREZ:

    Tuesday, the president hosted Iraqi Vice President Tariq al-Hashemi at the White House. Hashemi heads the Iraqi Islamic Party, the largest Sunni group in parliament.

    GEORGE W. BUSH, President of the United States: And I thank you for being a leader of one aspect of Iraqi society. You're the leader of the many Sunnis. And you're committed to a government that is Shia, Sunni, Kurdish and everybody else in your country, every other group in your country, that will help achieve peace.

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