US President George W Bush has overhauled his command team for Iraq, just days before he’s due to propose a new strategy to tackle the crisis there. It’s widely thought he’ll announce a surge in troops – just the opposite of what Congress, now controlled by Democrats, wants. As Bush nominated former Baghdad envoy, John Negroponte as deputy secretary of state, he acknowledged the new power of the senate. “I’m confident the United States Senate will also see the value of these two serving in crucial positions. And I would hope that they would be confirmed as quickly as possible”
But the newly-sworn in Democrat majority may prove less than accommodating. House speaker, Nancy Pelosi, put her name to an open letter yesterday opposing any troop increase. Lt Gen David Petraeus is set to become Bush’s new top commander in Iraq with Admiral William Fallon taking over as head of US Central Command for operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. The White House has denied claims that Bush is changing commanders because the current ones aren’t telling him what he wants to hear. It’s thought he may propose sending up to 40,000 more troops to Iraq.