A source close to the White House says US President George W. Bush has committed an additional 20,000 troops to Iraq. The news comes two days before a much-anticipated speech by Bush outlining his future policy in the country. Containing the spiralling violence and creating stability are the main priorities. As well as extra troops, there will also be changes at the top: “New challenges on the ground call for changes to our strategy and in two days, President Bush will speak to the nation and announce a way forward to achieve success in Iraq. There will be new leadership of both our military and our diplomatic efforts. And the man President Bush wants to lead Embassy Baghdad is Ryan Crocker,” said Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.
Crocker, previously ambassador to Lebanon, Syria and Pakistan, will face an unprecedented challenge. Bush’s proposals are likely to require funding that will have to be approved by the US Congress, setting up a collision course with the new Democratic leadership. Debates are due to begin the day after the speech.