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Criminals playing bigger role in Iraqi insurgency, top US general says

[JURIST] The insurgency in Iraq increasingly is made up of organized crime and hired criminals, Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Richard Myers [official bio] said Tuesday after visiting the country. Myers said that Saddam Hussein loyalists and insurgents from other countries are still a threat, but more of those arrested [Defense Department news release] by US and Iraqi forces are criminals. Myers said his assessment was based on talking to those he visited with throughout the country. Myers said he expected violence to ramp up again prior to another round of elections this summer. He would not say when he thought US forces would be able to begin withdrawing from the country. It was his first trip to Iraq since the Jan. 30 elections were held. Following his visit to Iraq, Myers traveled to Afghanistan [Defense Department news release], where he said progress continued to be made. AP has more.

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