United States presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton strongly criticised Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al- Maliki in an interview, saying she does not have "any faith" in his ability to bring security to Iraq.
Clinton, a Democratic senator, told CNN television that the US government should threaten to cut funding for Iraq's forces to prod Baghdad into stepping up its efforts to control raging sectarian violence in Iraq.
Asked if she thought Maliki could bring security back to Iraq, Clinton said "I don't have any faith" that he can.
She said in the interview taped on Thursday that it was uncertain "whether there's a gap between his intentions and his will ... Or whether he's doing what he intends to do."
"So you know, there's a mixed message at best, and I think that's what the Bush administration has never come to grips with," the New York senator said days after returning from Iraq in an interview, broadcast on Sunday.
The former first lady reiterated her opposition to President George W Bush's decision to send 21,500 more US troops to Iraq.
Clinton is backing legislation to cap the number of soldiers in Iraq, but she has refused to use the power of the purse strings to pressure the Bush administration.
"Let's cap the number of troops we have right now and let's begin the phased redeployment (withdrawal of US troops) that I've called for, for more than a year and a half. At the same time, I am not prepared to vote to cut funding to American troops," she said.