President George W. Bush is stepping deeply into Iraq's political divide by meeting at the White House on Monday with a top Shiite power broker and in January with the nation's Sunni vice president.
The president is under pressure to decide a new blueprint for US involvement in Iraq, where sectarian violence is on the rise and is pushing the nation to the brink of all-out civil war. The meetings suggest that Bush wants to become more personally involved in trying to bring the warring religious sects together.
Just back from meeting with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki on Thursday in Jordan, Bush is playing host on Monday to another Shiite politician, Abdul-Aziz al-Hakim, to seek ways to end escalating violence and keep al-Maliki's unity government intact.
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