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Politics And Military

* Resurfacing Shock and Awe, why is this different?  Ali Behrooz

* Mr President, Barack Obama,  Ali Behrooz

* Iran’s Conservatives Are Deceiving Themselves  Tariq Alhomayed

* Just When it Ends in Basra, it Begins in Mosul!  Huda al Husseini

* Putin promises Iran continuity in relations: RIA  News Report

* New U.S. carrier in Gulf a 'reminder' to Iran: Gates  News Report

* Iran displays 1800 km-range missile  News Report

* U.S., Iraqi Forces Continue to Battle in Sadr City  News Report

* Iran Top Threat To Iraq, U.S. Says  News Report

* Sadr not U.S. enemy if he sticks to politics: Gates  News Report

* British fear US commander is beating the drum for Iran strikes  News Report

* Pakistan Mulls Talking with Terrorists  News Report

* Shia leader tries to contain militia  News Report

* Bush to maintain Iraq troop numbers  News Report

* McCain doesn't rule out preemptive war  News Report

* Winds of Change  Pablo Ouziel

* Obama Adviser Calls for Troops To Stay in Iraq Through 2010  News Report

* Iran helped end Iraq fighting: Iraq party adviser  News Report

* McCain's "war on terror" remix  News Report

* Saudi Arabia's justice minister departs for Tehran  News Report

* Deployment of Foreign Troops an Insult to Regional States  News Report

* Gun-shy America is losing the best chance to stop Iran  News Report

* Khatami rallies Iran reformists  News Report

* Iran says will soon hold talks with U.S. on Iraq  News Report

* Iran says has built new long-range missile  News Report

* U.S. military in Iraq says to release 9 Iranians  News Report

* U.S. sees decline in Iran-linked bombs found in Iraq  News Report

* Russia and China fall in line on Iran  News Report

* Iran letter sparks new fight between Clinton, Obama  News Report

* Bombing Iran will ensure world peace  News Report

* King Abdullah flies in to lecture us on terrorism  Robert Fisk

* Ahmadinejad to Visit S. Arabia mid Nov.  News Report

* Iranian Guard 'ready to defend revolution'  News Report

* Iran to give crushing response to possible attacks: minister  News Report

* Bush: Missile shield is meant to deter Iran  News Report

* Iran Accuses US of Manufacturing Genetic Weapons  News Report

* Blair: Terror threat like fascism  Tony Blair

* US arrogant attitudes pave way for 'World War III': Cleric  News Report

* Russia’s Putin hunts diplomatic solution in Iran  News Report

* Clinton says she would negotiate with Iran if elected president  News Report

* Britain 'on board' for US strikes on Iran  News Report

* Iran, sanctions and the rumours of war  News Report

* No Iran strike plans, says Blair  Tony Blair

* Gates: Diplomatic efforts to counter Iranian nuclear program are working  News Report

* McCain Jokes About Bombing Iran  Liz Sidoti

* Tehran expects update on cases of two Iranians murdered in France: MP  News Report

* Iran is not a safe haven for terrorists  News Report

* Iran at threat?  News Report

* Iran trying to recruit Israeli spies  News Report

* Iran: Signals on 5 Diplomats  News Report


Bush to maintain Iraq troop numbers
[ News Report]  [2008-04-10 18:30:21]
[Source: FT - 10/04/08]


By Demetri Sevastopulo and Andrew Ward in Washington

President George W. Bush on Thursday said the US would halt troop reductions in Iraq this summer, but that deployments would be shorter to ease stress on the military.

In endorsing the recommendation of General David Petraeus, the US commander in Iraq, Mr Bush pointed to “significant progress” in Iraq. He added that he would give the four-star general who has overseen the military “surge” that will be unwound this summer, time to “consolidate his forces”.

“I’ve told him he’ll have all the time we need,” said Mr Bush.

Mr Bush’s comments suggested that US troop levels would remain close to the post-surge level of 140,000 for the remainder of his presidency. But he also bowed to the concerns of the joint chiefs of staff – the heads of the army, marine corps, navy and air force – by announcing shorter tours in war zones.

To ease the strain on military families, Mr Bush said that soldiers deploying to Iraq and Afghanistan after August would serve only 12 months, compared with the current 15-month tour. They would also be guaranteed at least one year back at home back before being redeployed.

Earlier on Thursday, Gen Petraeus expressed concern that the last year’s ceasefire by Moqtada al-Sadr, the radical Shia cleric who heads the Medhi army, could “fray”.

The US military has pointed to the ceasefire as one of the pillars that have helped sustain the security improvements. But some experts are worried that Nouri al-Maliki, the Iraqi prime minister, is jeopardising that ceasefire by continuing an offensive against elements of the Medhi army.

“There has to be a very, very sensitive approach as this goes forward, to make sure that folks don’t feel like they’re backed into a corner from which there’s no alternative,” said Gen Petraeus.

Mr Bush’s remarks came in a speech at the White House after two days of testimony to Congress by Gen Petraeus, Ryan Crocker, US ambassador to Baghdad, on progress in the war. Mr Bush said a “major strategic shift” had occurred since the “surge” with violence have fallen “dramatically”.

“Fifteen months ago, Americans were worried about the prospect of failure in Iraq. Today, thanks to the surge, we’ve renewed and revived the prospect of success.”

But he acknowledged that “serious and complex challenges remained”, including the continued presence of al-Qaeda, the “destructive influence” of Iran and the “hard compromises” needed for political progress.

In a warning to Tehran, Mr Bush said the Iranian regime had a choice between developing peaceful relations with Iraq or continuing to “arm and train and fund illegal militant groups which are terrorising the Iraqi people and turning them against Iran”.

“If Iran makes the right choice, America will encourage a peaceful relationship between Iran and Iraq,” he said. “If Iran makes the wrong choice, America will act to protect our interests and our troops and our Iraqi partners.”

In pressing his case for the war, Mr Bush said success in Iraq would “bring us closer to our most important goal – making the American people safer here at home”. Earlier this week when John Warner, a respective Republican senator, asked Gen Petraeus whether the campaign in Iraq was in fact making the US safer, he responded: ““ultimately, it can only be assessed by history”.





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