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AT A GLANCE: Reactions, Responses To US Plan For Iraq January 11, 2007

Posted by notapundit in US News, White House, World News.
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In a speech Wednesday night, President George W. Bush outlined his plan for going forward in Iraq. The plan includes the commitment of 21,500 additional troops to help Iraqi and coalition forces gain control of strategic areas including Baghdad and Anbar province. Bush also called for the U.S. to clamp down on Iran and Syria for their continued support for insurgents.

Thursday morning, a trio of Bush’s highest-ranking advisers spoke at a press conference to expand on the plan. General Peter Pace, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, new Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice outlined more details and answered questions about the plan.

US GATES: DIFFICULT TO SAY HOW LONG SURGE WILL LAST
Gates said Thursday it remains unclear how long the “temporary” U.S. military buildup ordered by President Bush will last, but he said that the U.S. should know soon whether Iraqis were living up to their part of the deal and increasing their own forces.

US GATES RECOMMENDS 92,000 INCREASE IN DEFENSE FORCE
Gates said he is recommending an increase in the number of U.S. soldiers and Marines by 92,000 over a period of five years. Gates also outlined changes to how the military’s reserves and the National Guard forces are mobilized, including mobilizing by units rather than by individual members.

US RICE: IRAQ MUST FULFILL OBLIGATIONS FOR BUSH PLAN SUCCESS
U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice Thursday stressed Iraq must fulfill its obligations for troops, money and political will in order for the Bush plan to succeed. In remarks prepared for delivery to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Rice promised oversight, without giving specifics.

US RICE: WILL REVERSE IRAN POLICY IF ENRICHMENT ENDS
The U.S. is prepared to reverse its policy and open talks with Iran if it agrees to stop its uranium enrichment program, Rice said.

BUSH ADMINISTRATION WORKS TO SELL CONGRESS ON IRAQ PLAN
The Bush administration worked Thursday to persuade a skeptical Congress and the U.S. public to accept President Bush’s troop buildup plan as the last best chance for reversing Iraq’s slide. The plan headed straight into a political gale in Congress, with Democrats, some Republicans and an organized anti-war movement lined up against it.

-National and International Reactions-

Bush’s plan also provoked widely varied reactions from both national and international sources. Many members of the U.S. Congress have already spoken out against it, and foreign reactions ranged from support from U.K. Prime Minister Tony Blair to skepticism and outright criticism from countries in the Middle East.

IRAQ GOVT WELCOMES BUSH’S NEW STRATEGY, COMMITS TO SUCCESS
Iraq’s government welcomed Bush’s new strategy and promised it was committed to making sure it succeeds. But ordinary Iraqis gave it mixed reviews, with many expressing skepticism that an increase in U.S. troops would quell the violence ransacking their country. A Sunni lawmaker also rejected Bush’s plan to send more troops, calling instead for a timetable for them to withdraw and for direct negotiations with insurgents.

MOST IN US OPPOSE BUSH PLAN FOR MORE TROOPS IN IRAQ – POLL
Most Americans, by a 61%-36% margin, oppose President Bush’s plan, according to a poll taken following the president’s speech, the Washington Post reported Thursday.

US SEN LIEBERMAN APPLAUDS BUSH’S PLAN FOR IRAQ
Sen. Joe Lieberman, who was assailed for his pro-war views during his fall re-election race, praised Bush’s plan and urged his colleagues in Congress to proceed with respectful debate.

US SEN HAGEL BLASTS BUSH’S PLAN FOR MORE TROOPS IN IRAQ
U.S. Sen. Chuck Hagel, R-Neb., called Bush’s plan a “dangerously wrongheaded strategy that will drive America deeper into an unwinnable swamp at great cost.”

MANY US LAWMAKERS SKEPTICAL OF IRAQ TROOP SURGE
Many lawmakers reacted skeptically to Bush’s plan. Democrats opposed the plan and said it was the opposite of what voters demanded when they threw out the Republican-led Congress in November and gave control to Democrats. Even some Republicans opposed the plan, while others reacted cautiously, saying events on the ground in Iraq would eventually determine the plan’s success.

UK, US IN ‘STRATEGIC SYMMETRY’ ON IRAQ – PM SPOKESMAN
The U.K. and the U.S are in “strategic symmetry” on the issue of Iraq, Prime Minister Tony Blair’s official spokesman said at a news briefing Thursday.

AUSTRALIA’S PM SUPPORTS NEW US STRATEGY IN IRAQ
Australian Prime Minister John Howard, an ally of the U.S. government and a “coalition of the willing” partner, said he supports Bush’s revised military strategy unveiled.

BUSH’S PLAN FOR IRAQ MET WITH HARSH SKEPTICISM IN MIDEAST
Bush’s new strategy to send thousands of more troops to Iraq was met with harsh skepticism across the Mideast Thursday, where many predicted that even with more soldiers, the U.S. would fail at breaking the cycle of violence. Many analysts said instead of quelling the fighting, sending more troops into Iraq would just increase the number of causalities and continue to divide the war-fractured country.

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