Iraq Government Backs U.S. Plan, Maliki Says

U.S. Marine Lance Cpl. Wesley Barnes in Ramadi, Iraq i i

hide captionU.S. Marine Lance Cpl. Wesley Barnes from Rincon, Ga., prepares to leave with fellow Marines for a military operation attack January 14, 2007, at Camp Ramadi in the Anbar province of Iraq.

John Moore/Getty Images
U.S. Marine Lance Cpl. Wesley Barnes in Ramadi, Iraq

U.S. Marine Lance Cpl. Wesley Barnes from Rincon, Ga., prepares to leave with fellow Marines for a military operation attack January 14, 2007, at Camp Ramadi in the Anbar province of Iraq.

John Moore/Getty Images

Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki told reporters this weekend that Bush's Iraq plan is identical to what his government wants; he also said that his forces will be in the lead.

The Bush administration is making clear that it expects cooperation from the Iraqi government as the United States prepares to deploy an additional 21,000 troops to Iraq.

When the president announced his plan last week, he said previous U.S. efforts had failed because of restrictions on U.S. troops.

Among those restrictions was the Iraqi government's refusal to allow U.S. forces to go after Shiite militias. On Sunday, Vice President Cheney, said that the administration had been frank on this point with Maliki.

"We've been very direct with him. I think Maliki and his government understand very well that they, in fact, need to step up and take responsibility," Cheney said.

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