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WASHINGTON — A week after a rocket attack killed three coalition personnel in Iraq, the State Department said today it was disappointed with the Iraqi caretaker government's performance in protecting US and coalition troops in Iraq. If the Iraqi government does not do a better job of protecting coalition forces, the United States will be forced to take actions to protect its personnel, a US official warned.
“The Iraqi government is at a decision point,” Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs David Schenker told journalists on a State Department call today. “If it doesn’t take steps to hold accountable those responsible for the attacks on coalition forces, which are there at the invitation of the Iraqi government, the US will be forced to continue to protect our forces proactively.”
“It is no secret that we have been enormously disappointed with the performance of the government of Iraq in protecting American and coalition forces, which are in Iraq at the invitation of the Iraqi government,” Schenker said. “That remains a point of contention.”
“We have been told by the government of Iraq that they will investigate thoroughly and bring to justice those individuals responsible for the most recent attacks,” he continued. “And they did in fact do some operations to arrest people. But I think the proof is in the pudding. We have heard this before from the government of Iraq.”