As violence escalates in Iraq the Bush administration is coming under increasing domestic pressure to act to halt the bloodshed. October has seen the highest number of deaths among Iraqis and US forces this year. At least 44 Iraqis were killed across the country in sectarian bomb and gun attacks yesterday. After further attacks over the weekend the death toll among Americans now stands at 83.
The White House has rejected a report in the New York times that it is formulating a timetable for the Iraqi government to stabilise the nation. With mid-term Congressional elections approaching Democrats have been piling on the pressure:
“We shouldn’t wait until the end of the year to come up with milestones. We ought to be doing that now, we should done it long go. We shouldn’t wait until when our elections are over to tell the Iraqis that we are going to have to tell them – we’re going to have to set a time when we’re going to begin to leave Iraq,” said Senator Carl Levin.
Discontent over Iraq could see the Republicans losing their majority in both houses of Congress. British troops, the Americans’ main ally in Iraq, have also been caught in the upsurge in violence. As Prince Philip, the Queen’s husband, visited troops there, Prime Minister Tony Blair was preparing to meet Iraqi leaders today to discuss a handover of security responsibilities.