Senators Express Concerns About Iraqi Prime Minister

b_250_0_16777215_00_images_obgrabber_2013-10_a2758a0730.jpgJIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images (WASHINGTON) -- A half-dozen U.S. senators have essentially given Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki a vote of no confidence ahead of the Iraqi leader's meeting Friday with President Obama. The letter sent to the White House Wednesday alleges that Maliki's Shiite-led government has marginalized the Sunni minority to the point where Iraq may be headed for the same kind of sectarian conflict that almost tore the country apart during the height of the Iraq war.

The senators charged the prime minister has mismanaged his government, thus causing this year's spike in violence.

The letter was signed by Republican Sens. John McCain of Arizona, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, James Inhofe of Oklahoma and Bob Corker of Tennessee, as well as Democrats Robert Menendez of New Jersey and Carl Levin of Michigan.

A major reason for Maliki's trip to Washington is to appeal for more assistance to help tamp down the bombings and other assaults led by al Qaeda and other insurgents.  Despite their criticism of the prime minister, the lawmakers did urge Obama to approve greater counterterrorism aid for Iraq.

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