A member of an Iraqi volunteer forces group joins training near the Imam Ali shrine in the southern holy Shiite city of Najaf, Iraq, Thursday, June 26, 2014, after authorities urged Iraqis to help battle insurgents. (AP Photo/Jaber al-Helo)
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The United States urged Saudi Arabia, Jordan and the United Arab Emirates Thursday to do what they can to encourage Iraq to form an inclusive government to tackle Islamist militant forces threatening to tear apart the country.The diplomatic push came as Iraqi forces battled to retake Tikrit, Saddam Hussein's hometown, from Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS) militants, with one helicopter downed by insurgents in the process, as a bombing killed 12 people in a Shiite area of Baghdad. It was Barzani's first visit to Kirkuk since Iraqi forces withdrew in the face of the ISIS offensive, allowing the Kurdish forces already stationed there to take control.The offensive has cleared the way for Iraqi Kurds to begin realizing long-held territorial dreams, moving their forces into disputed areas that the federal government has long opposed them adding to their autonomous northern region.
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