U.S. may reduce Iraqi contingent
The top U.S. commander in Iraq says a decision on whether to reduce troops there is likely by September. General David Petraeus was speaking ahead of an expected promotion to Middle East commander.
The U.S. Senate has passed a multi-billion dollar bill to fund the war in Iraq until President Bush's successor takes over.
Against the wishes of George Bush the bill also now includes funding for domestic programmes such as benefits for veterans and the unemployed.
The President has promised to veto the combined bill, but may be unable to.
In its fifth year, the U.S presence in Iraq is still a source of widespread public tension.
After 18 months as the U.S. chief commander in Iraq, Petraeus has been put forward to become the chief commander in the Middle East. His predecessor, Admiral William Fallon, resigned following reports he was at odds with the White House over Iran policy.
Petraeus will now have a difficult task ahead of him, to balance U.S. national interests in the entire region, with wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. He is going to be a detriment to any peace negotiation in the region.
Afghanistan is seen by many as the true front in the war on terror. Meantime, Alabama Republican Senator Jeff Sessions told RT that Iraq is still a priority.
“We need to be successful in Iraq. We have a lot of other interest in the Middle East. Precipitously withdrawing and not setting up a good and descent government would be a huge mistake,” he said.