By SAM DAGHER
Published: April 25, 2009
BAGHDAD — On April 18, American and British officials from a secretive unit called the Force Strategic Engagement Cell flew to Jordan to try to persuade one of Saddam Hussein’s top generals — the commander of the final defense of Baghdad in 2003 — to return home to resume efforts to make peace with the new Iraq.
But the Iraqi commander, Lt. Gen. Raad Majid al-Hamdani, rebuffed them.
After a year of halting talks mediated by the Americans, he said, he concluded that Iraq’s leader, Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki, simply was not interested in reconciliation.
The American appeal — described by General Hamdani and not previously reported — illustrates what could become one of the biggest obstacles to stability in Iraq. Mr. Maliki’s pledges to reconcile with some of the most ardent opponents of his government have given
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