US President George W. Bush has confirmed that he will send a further 20,000 troops to Iraq. Speaking from the White House, he said that the US aim is to show an example to the whole region by ensuring a functioning democracy in Iraq.
“So America will change our strategy to help the Iraqis carry out their campaign to put down sectarian violence and bring security to the people of Baghdad. This will require increasing american forces levels. So I have committed more than 20,000 additional American troops to Iraq. The vast majority of them, five brigades, will be deployed in Baghdad.”
The main thrust of Bush’s strategy is to embed the extra US troops with 18 new Iraqi brigades to form what he called coalition brigades.
He also said that another carrier group would be sent to the Gulf. “We are also taking other steps to bolster the security of Iraq and protect American interests in the Middle East. I recently ordered the deployment of an additional carrier strike group to the region. We will expand intelligence sharing and deploy Patriot air defence systems to reassure our friends and allies. We all work with the governments of Turkey and Iraq to help them to resolve problems along their borders. And we will work with others to prevent Iran from getting nuclear weapons and dominating the region”.
President Bush said he had secured the agreement of Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki to commit his government and military forces to ending sectarian violence.
Under the plan, Iraq will appoint a military governor of Baghdad and form new Iraqi brigades to work together with US forces. He also pledged more funds to Iraqi reconstruction.