Despite growing uncertainty about Iraq’s forthcoming elections, US President George W.Bush has said the vote will go ahead at the end of January. On a visit to a military base in California, he confirmed that thousands more troops would be sent to Iraq to provide extra security for the ballot. “America and her coalition have a policy in place to aid the rise of a stable Iraq, to help the Iraqi government provide security during the election period. We will increase American troop strength by twelve thousand personnel for a hundred and fifty thousand total troops.”
Attacks against US forces and their allies continue in Iraq. A recent CIA report has said the situation is deteriorating and unlikely to improve for some time. Russian President Vladimir Putin, after talks with Iraqi Prime Minister Iyad Allawi in Moscow, said: “I honestly say that I cannot imagine how elections can be organised under a full occupation of the country by foreign troops,” he said. He added: “I also cannot imagine how you, on your own, will be able to restore the situation in the country and stop it from breaking up.”Allawi himself remains committed to the January 30 election date. But he has said the vote in troubled regions could take two to three weeks longer to complete.