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Iraq's parliament, which had been due to elect the country's president Wednesday, postponed the vote by a day, delaying the formation of a power-sharing government urgently needed to confront an insurgency raging in the country.Washington hopes a more inclusive government in Baghdad could save Iraq by persuading moderate Sunnis to turn against the insurgency, as many did during the "surge" offensive in 2006-7 when U.S. troops paid them to switch sides.In Washington, a top State Department official said the U.S. had boosted the number of surveillance flights over Iraq to nearly 50 a day from one a month.However, Washington has not yet authorized unmanned drone strikes against ISIS militants as requested by Baghdad, according to testimony by Brett McGurk, deputy assistant secretary for Iraq and Iran, at a House of Representatives hearing. The U.S. has "up to" 775 troops in Iraq, of whom 475 are deployed to assure the security of American personnel and facilities and 300 to monitor, including the amped-up surveillance and reconnaissance flights.
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