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More US Troops To Help Garrison Baghdad

Military commanders in Iraq can move forces within the country without approval from Washington. Photo courtesy of AFP.
by Staff Writers
Washington (AFP) Nov 29, 2006
The US military is moving as many as three battalions from other parts of Iraq to Baghdad to beef up security in the violence-torn capital, a US defense official said Wednesday. The official said the US troops would not come from Al-Anbar, a vast western province where US marines have been fighting a bitter, long-running Sunni insurgency.

"It's likely troops from other parts of Iraq will go augment Baghdad, to help the security situation," said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

The official said the movement was expected to involve two to three battalions, or some 1,600 to 2,400 troops.

News of the movement came as President George W. Bush was arriving in Amman for face-to-face talks with Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki on how to stem the sectarian violence rocking the capital.

ABC News reported Tuesday that the military was considering turning over Al-Anbar to Iraqi forces and moving US troops there to Baghdad, effectively writing off the province.

Asked about the report, the defense official said: "We have seen nothing to support that."

General John Abizaid, the commander of US forces in the Middle East, reaffirmed earlier this month that the main US military effort will be in Baghdad.

But he said some 2,200 marines had been added to the marine force in Al-Anbar.

In a report leaked to the Washington Post, the marine's top intelligence officer in Iraq warned in August that the US military could make no headway against the insurgency in Al-Anbar without another division, some 15,000 to 20,000 troops.

Government structures in the area have disintegrated, and Al-Qaeda has become the dominant force in the region, the report said.

US strategy in Iraq is under review by an outside bipartisan panel as well as within the US government.

One option reportedly under consideration is a temporary increase in the US force by 20,000 to 30,000 troops, while responsibility for security is being shifted to Iraqi units.

Military commanders in Iraq can move forces within the country without approval from Washington.

But Washington would have to give its approval to other moves to increase the overall size of the 141,000-strong US force to deal with the worsening security situation.

earlier related report
Top general denies US pondering withdrawal from Al-Anbar
Washington (AFP) Nov 29 - The top US general denied Wednesday that the US military is considering withdrawing all US forces from Iraq's volatile Al-Anbar province.

"There is no immediate thought to moving all coalition forces out of Al-Anbar province, and turning over right now, today, all security for Al-Anbar to Iraqi security forces," said General Peter Pace, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. "It's not on the table."

ABC News reported that the military was seriously considering such an option, effectively writing off the volatile western province, a stronghold of the Sunni insurgency.

But Pace flatly denied that the US military was considering giving up Al-Anbar.

"Why would we want to forfeit any part of Iraq to the enemy? We don't," he said at a Pentagon press conference.

"We want to provide security to the Iraqi people. We want to assist the Iraqi government to provide good governance and economic opportunity," he said.

Pace confirmed that General George Casey, the US commander in Iraq, has moved to beef up security in Baghdad by bringing a couple of US battalions from other parts of the country to the capital.

A defense official, speaking on condition of anonymity, earlier said two or three US battalions -- some 1,600 to 2,400 troops -- would be moved to Baghdad from within Iraq but not from Al-Anbar province.

Source: Agence France-Presse

Related Links
Iraq: The first techonology war of the 21st century
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Preventing Genocide In Iraq
New York (UPI) Nov 29, 2006
To prevent genocide in Iraq on the scale of the genocide in Rwanda between the Tutsis and the Hutus, the Bush administration must move swiftly to divide Iraq into three main self-rule entities with loose federal ties. Neither the insurgency nor the sectarian killing will end unless the Sunnis can govern themselves. The Bush administration must use every ounce of leverage it has to push for such a solution before it is too late.

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