Sunni communities in western Anbar province say Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, a Shiite, is sidelining them. Members of the U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee heard testimony Wednesday that al-Qaida was now exploiting the fractured political climate in Iraq.
Jen Psaki, a spokeswoman for the U.S. State Department, said during a Wednesday press briefing the U.S. role in mitigating the political crisis was to help Iraq understand security operations "only work" when coupled with long-term political initiatives.
"We've emphasized, of course, the importance of pursuing political initiatives and addressing the legitimate grievances of all communities," she said.
Nickolay Mladenov, U.N. special envoy to Iraq, said in a statement Wednesday political leaders in Iraq need to show a sense of national unity given the grave security challenges.
At least 25 people were killed Wednesday in three separate bombings near the Green Zone, the heavily-fortified areas housing political offices in Baghdad, CNN reported.
"Those who orchestrate such attacks should be condemned by all political, religious and civic leaders in this country," Mladenov said.
Notable deaths of 2014 [PHOTOS]