The US Vice-President, Dick Cheney has made a surprise trip to Iraq amid growing calls for American troops to go home. Cheney, one of the chief architects of the war to oust Saddam Hussein, met Iraq’s prime minister and president during his 8-hour visit, and hailed Thursday’s election as “tremendous”. But hardline leaders from both sides of the country’s sectarian divide renewed demands for US troops to be sent home immediately.
While the Iraqi government wants the Americans to stay to provide security and stop the country sliding into civil war, some Iraqis say the U.S. presence is the problem and that if they leave, the insurgency will wither. Washington hopes the election will allow it to start pulling troops out in significant numbers next year. The importance of successful elections is expected to be the main focus of the US President’s latest speech on Iraq as he continues to fight against weak approval ratings at home.