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June 18, 2004 3:00 AM

Iraqi government's troubles raise doubts about country's future

The new Iraqi government has been so battered by violence and undercut by public disagreement with U.S. officials that some in Iraq have started to wonder whether Prime Minister Iyad Allawi and his Cabinet will weather the storm. Allawis interim government assumes sovereignty June 30, and much is riding on his ability to navigate difficult issues with the Americans and retain credibility with Iraqis. The government is to remain in place until elections for a permanent government are possible, presumably by January. If the new Iraqi officials, working with the Americans, cant guide Iraq to these elections, many predict the country could fall into a long period of civil war.

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