Egypt: Iraq unity crucial for Bush's new strategy

Reconciliation and national unity in Iraq are keys to the success of US President George W. Bush's new strategy for the war-torn country, a spokesman for the Egyptian president said Saturday. "We, as Egyptians and Arabs, have supported the political process in Iraq, and we urge everybody to comprehend ... the fact that a national reconciliation is the necessary condition and obligation for this process to succeed," the spokesman, Suleiman Awaad, said. The comment was the first official Cairo response to Bush's call on Egypt and other moderate Arab countries to step up support for the Iraqi government. Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and other Gulf countries, dominated by Sunni Muslims, have grown increasingly suspicious of Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's government, worried it was becoming a pawn of Iran and trying to establish Shiite control of Iraq while sidelining the Sunni minority that ruled there under Saddam Hussein.