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The Wall Street Journal, Baghdad, 18 Jan 2012

Iraq’s political crisis escalated Wednesday, as two separate groups within the government’s ruling coalition met to discuss the possibility of ousting Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, amid a surge in violence.

In Baghdad, Ayad Allawi, the former prime minister who leads a mainly Sunni contingent within government, met with his group to discuss ways to ease Mr. Maliki out of his role, while Kurdish leaders met in Erbil, the capital of the semi-independent Kurdish region, with the same goal.

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