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Iraqi Official Says Country Would Suffer if Maliki Were Ousted

Iraq's national security adviser cautions the country would be caught up in what he calls a political "hurricane" if the government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki were ousted. His comments came on CNN's Late Edition program Sunday, in response to questions about reports that a bloc in the Iraqi parliament is preparing a no confidence motion against the Maliki government. VOA's Stephanie Ho reports from Washington.

Iraqi National Security Adviser Mowaffak al-Rubaie said he is not surprised that parliamentary groups he described as "radicals" and "extremists" are not happy with the Iraqi government. But he emphasized that Prime Minister Maliki is working toward national unity and said movement toward reconciliation could be derailed if his government is brought down by internal political squabbling.

"I can tell you one thing, that after Maliki, there's going to be the hurricane in Iraq," said Mowaffak al-Rubaie. "This is extremely important point to make across to the western audience and to the Arab audience, as well as the larger Muslim audience."

Rubaie said Iraq would face political chaos and extreme uncertainty if the Maliki government were removed.

In Iraq, a political rift is growing between Mr. Maliki and his former ally, Shiite cleric Moqtada al Sadr. The Sadr movement's militia forces are blamed for being behind much of the sectarian violence that has killed thousands of Iraqis in the past two years. Mr. Maliki recently accused Sadr leaders of not clearly distancing themselves from the violence. In response, Sadr spokesmen accuse the Iraqi leader of being a U.S. puppet.

Rubaie also retracted statements he made earlier this year about Iranian influence in his country. In February, he said, his government had evidence that Iranian influence in Iraq was decreasing, but it does not think so now.

"My wishful prediction in February obviously was wrong, and unfortunately, what we are seeing is some meddling into the internal affairs of Iraq," he said. "And we in the Iraqi government, we denounce this strongly, in the strongest terms."

His comments come days after U.S. military officials in Iraq say they have evidence Iran is involved in helping arm Shiite militants in Iraq and plan deadly militant attacks against U.S. forces there.

The subject of U.S. policy in Iraq will dominate discussions on Capitol Hill in coming weeks, as American lawmakers prepare to debate proposals to withdraw troops and limit spending.