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Bush, Iraq PM Agree On Need For Military To Quell Violence January 4, 2007

Posted by notapundit in Military News, US News, White House, World News.

WASHINGTON (AP)–With President George W. Bush expected to order a short-term increase of U.S. troops in Iraq, the White House said Bush and Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki agreed Thursday on the need to have enough military might to calm violence-wracked Baghdad.

Bush also told al-Maliki during a nearly two-hour conversation that “it was the right thing to do” to investigate the taking of cell phone video of Saddam Hussein at his hanging, White House press secretary Tony Snow said.

The unauthorized video showed the deposed president being taunted on the gallows and images of his dangling body afterward. The unruly spectacle has infuriated many of Saddam’s fellow Sunni Arabs, and triggered international consternation.

Still, the White House has not only refused to join the criticism of how the execution was carried out, but has been seeking to minimize the controversy.

“He simply said that it was the right thing to do, that there were concern in this country and around the world about it and that he thought that the prime minister was doing the right thing by taking a look at it,” Snow said, recounting what Bush told the Iraqi leader.

Bush has chosen not to view the video. Though Snow said al-Maliki told Bush that Iraqi leaders are “pained at the filming,” he also stressed that the two leaders talked about Saddam as “a tyrant who killed hundreds of thousands” and the expectations that there would be some violence and protests in the wake of his execution.

The president and prime minister spoke by secure video conference, with about half of the conversation limited to only the two leaders and their translators, Snow said.

Bush plans to present the U.S. nation soon with his new strategy for Iraq. The plan is expected to contain economic, political and diplomatic components, but questions about what it will mean for the U.S. military presence in Iraq have garnered the most attention.

“They were talking about the importance of having sufficient force within Baghdad to create a stable situation within the city,” Snow said.

He wouldn’t elaborate. Though Bush is widely expected to call for an increase in U.S. troop levels, Snow said he hasn’t decided yet whether to do so – much less the exact number and duration of the deployment.

Snow said Bush “did not unveil a new way forward” to al-Maliki.

“The president and the prime minister exchanged ideas, but I’m not going to get into details,” he said.

“He is narrowing down,” the spokesman said of Bush’s plan, expected to be released next week. “I think he has a pretty clear sense of where he wants to go, but he also still wants to make sure that he’s looked at this from every angle and that he’s done the consultations, he’s been thorough in his consultations.”


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