BAGHDAD — The leader of Iraq’s most influential Shiite political party offered surprisingly conciliatory remarks on Thursday about the former insurgents and other Sunnis who have banded together into militias now working with American forces, stating that the groups had helped improve security and should be continued.
In a speech in the Shiite holy city of Najaf, Abdul Aziz al-Hakim, leader of the political party that has long been the backbone of the dominant Shiite political alliance, said a main reason for recent security improvements was from not merely depending on official security forces but from relying on tribal groups and local councils.
“We still believe in continuing this strategy,” said Mr. Hakim, the leader of the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq.
Mr. Hakim’s remarks on Thursday referred to Sunni groups, known as “awakening councils,” which emerged in 2006 in Sunn
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