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Bush prepares to review American policy in Iraq

US President George Bush and his national security team has been preparing to meet with the Iraq Study Group, a bipartisan Washington commission trying to devise new strategies in a conflict that’s claimed the lives of nearly three thousand Amer

The White House has once again said it’s open to fresh ideas on how to approach the war on terror. A British proposal to engage Syria and Iran in efforts to end violence in Iraq has been backed by Australia. Both the U.S. and Britain have in recent days said there is a need for a change of course, reinforcing a dramatic rhetorical shift following humbling mid-term election results, the White House has said again that it would welcome new ideas about the increasingly unpopular Iraq war.

As policy looks set to shift in Washington, British Prime Minister Tony Blair has also indicated the need for fresh ideas. He’s expected to push a diplomatic drive, to encourage Iran and Syria to help curb violence in Iraq, when he addresses the Iraq Study Group via video link on Tuesday.  It’s an idea so far rejected by U.S. President George W. Bush, who is fierce in his criticism of both countries.

Future US Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid says the U.S. should step up its military redeployment: “We need to do a number of things. We need to have redeployment in Iraq. What does that mean? Pull everybody out now?  Of course, not.  But it does mean that we need to change our operation there, to counter insurgency, better training and force protection.”

Senator Reid, a democrat from Nevada, stopped short of specifying a date to begin pulling out. Both London and Washington have said that while a reassessment of policy in the war is necessary, neither would favor a dramatic change in strategy. But as casualties continue to mount, it would seem that staying the course, is no longer an option.

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