President Bush has said America’s strategy in Iraq has reversed the country’s slide into chaos, and as a result 20 000 US troops are on course to go home by the middle of the year. He told soldiers at Camp Arifjan – the biggest American base in neighbouring Kuwait – that violence is significantly down and al-Qaeda in Iraq had been dealt heavy blows.
Bush also said Syria needs to further reduce the flow of terrorists to Iraq, especially suicide bombers – and he wants Iran to stop supporting militias there. America’s chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff claimed last week’s tense encounter between US warships and Iranian speedboats shows that Iran poses a threat.
The Americans claim this US Navy video shows five Iranian boats manoeuvring aggressively in the Strait of Hormuz. They further claim there was a radio message threatening an explosion.
The Iranians say the encounter was normal, and their boats were merely trying to identify the US ships. But America’s top military officer says his forces are ready to counter any threat it perceives.