UK Conservative says U.S.-British policy in Iraq must be rethought

Opposition Conservative Party leader Michael Howard said Friday that U.S.-British policy in Iraq isn't working and needs to be rethought.

Howard urged a crackdown on armed militia groups in Iraq.

"We are where we are, and the present strategy clearly doesn't seem to be working," Howard said in an interview with British Broadcasting Corp. radio.

Criticism of Britain's role in Iraq has increased this week following a clash in Basra between British forces and rioters, after Iraqi police had arrested two undercover soldiers, the AP reminds.

British officials said the two soldiers had been transferred to the custody of a militia group before they were rescued by British forces.

"I think that the Iraqi government has got to make it clear that these armed militias are unacceptable," Howard said.

"So you could start with the armed militias which are said to be loyal to the prime minister and the interior minister, and they should say to these people, 'If you want to play a part in law enforcement in Iraq you must join the police or the armed forces."'

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