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U.S. review finds Iraq is deadlier now than it was a year ago

An Iraqi Army soldier patrols the northern part of Kirkuk Province, July 2, 2011, alongside U.S. soldiers. Iraq's political leaders are struggling with whether to ask the United States to keep some troops in Iraq after Dec. 31, when a status of forces agreement dictates that they be gone. But with time running out and the decision caught in a logjam of competing Iraqi interests, U.S. and Iraqi officials say that nowhere is there a stronger argument for keeping some U.S. forces than in Kirkuk.

SEBASTIAN MEYER/MCT

By Published: July 30, 2011

Frequent bombings, assassinations and a resurgence in violence by Shiite militias have made Iraq more dangerous now than it was just a year ago, a U.S. government watchdog concludes in a report released Saturday.

The Associated Press reported on the analysis, by Stuart W. Bowen Jr., the special inspector general for Iraq reconstruction, who concluded "Iraq remains an extraordinarily dangerous place to work" and said "It is less safe, in my judgment, than 12 months ago."

Bowen's report comes at a time when the U.S. is pressuring the Iraqi government to decide if it wants to fornally request that American troops stay past the year-end deadline for withdrawal. U.S. military officials have expressed a willingness to maintain a presence in Iraq, but militants have stepped up attacks in an attempt to drive the Americans out on schedule.

The report cited the deaths of 15 U.S. soldiers in June, the bloodiest month for the U.S. military in Iraq in two years, an increase in rockets launched against the heavily fortified Green Zone in Baghdad, and constant assassination attempts against Iraqi political leaders, security forces and judges, AP reported.

Read more about Bowen's analysis of the deteriorating security situation in Iraq from The Associated Press 

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