Iraq's new prime minister promised to use "maximum force" if necessary to end the brutal insurgent and sectarian violence wracking the country, while a suicide bomber killed more than a dozen people at a restaurant in downtown Baghdad.
Nouri Al-Maliki said the appointment of chiefs for the key Defense and Interior ministries should not "take more than two or three days." He is seeking candidates who are independent and have no ties to Iraq's myriad armed groups.
The two ministries, which oversee the army and the police, are crucial for restoring stability, and al-Maliki needs to find candidates with wide acceptance from his broad-based governing coalition of Shiites, Sunni Arabs and Kurds.
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