War pimp alert: U.S. sees attacks by Iranian-backed groups up in Iraq

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Attacks by Iranian-backed groups in Iraq have increased in recent months, a senior U.S. official said on Thursday, casting doubt on the view Iran might have reduced its support for violence in the war.

David Satterfield, the State Department’s Iraq coordinator, said he believed Iran’s strategy remained to force the United States to withdraw from Iraq at as high a price as possible.

The United States has 158,000 troops in Iraq seeking to quell an insurgency and sectarian violence that erupted after the March 2003 U.S.-led invasion that toppled former dictator Saddam Hussein.

Satterfield said President George W. Bush hoped to leave his successor a more stable Iraq and the time to weigh options on how to deal with the country, which holds the world’s third largest oil reserves.

Attacks across Iraq have fallen by 60 percent since June 2007, when Bush’s “surge” of 30,000 additional U.S. troops became fully deployed.

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