Wednesday, January 10, 2007
Bush counsel: Iraq must assume more security responsibilities
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- President Bush's proposed new strategy in the Iraq war -- which he will describe to the nation Wednesday night -- would rely on the Iraq government to step up to the plate and take more responsibility for the country's security, the man who serves as Bush's counsel said Wednesday.
"Bush will make very clear tonight that the sectarian violence we're seeing in Iraq can only be solved by Iraqis, and the plan put forward tonight is an Iraqi initiative. What it requires though is our support," Dan Bartlett, who oversees planning and media affairs in the White House, told CNN's Miles O'Brien on "American Morning."
Bush wants to send about 20,000 more U.S. troops to Iraq in an effort to pacify the Iraqi capital, with the goal of handing control of the country to Iraqi troops by November, a U.S. official said Tuesday.
Most of the additional troops would be sent to Baghdad, where American and Iraqi troops fought a 10-hour street battle with insurgents on Tuesday. But about 4,000 would be dispatched to the restive Anbar province, the heart of the Sunni Arab insurgency, the official said.
Though the hope is that Iraqi forces would take control of security by November, U.S. troops would remain to support the Iraqis, the official said. The new troops would be embedded with Iraqis as trainers to "make sure they have the backup combat power they're going to need to send a signal that we mean business this time," according to Bartlett.
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