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Lt. Gen. Aboud Qanbar, Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's point man for military operations in Baghdad, announced sweeping new military powers on Tuesday as part of a large-scale crackdown on sectarian violence. Qanbar said he is in absolute control of the effort and answers only to Maliki, signaling an expansion of the prime minister's authority.

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Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's choice of Lt. Gen. Abud Qanbar, a relatively unknown figure, to head the military in Baghdad has upset Iraqi military commanders and politicians. American commanders have also expressed dissatisfaction with Qanbar, due to the key role he will play in Bush's planned escalation of the war and fears that his promotion might be motivated by a sectarian agenda.

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