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Iraq’s Shiite prime minister extended overtures Wednesday to his Sunni and Kurdish political rivals as his forces battled Sunni militants over control of the nation’s largest oil refinery and a strategic city near the Syrian border. Nouri al-Maliki’s uncharacteristically conciliatory words, coupled with a vow to teach the militants a “lesson,” came as almost all Iraq’s main communities have been drawn into a spasm of violence not seen since the dark days of sectarian killings nearly a decade ago. The U.S. has been pressing al-Maliki to adopt political inclusion and undermine the insurgency by making overtures to Iraq’s once-dominant Sunni minority, which has long complained of discrimination by his government and abuses by his Shiite-led security forces.



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