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Al-Maliki echoes White House line in address
Iraqi prime minister Nouri al-Maliki said on Wednesday his country's future depended on continued US commitment, telling a joint session of Congress that the "fate of our country and yours is tied", and that it is "your duty and our duty to defeat this terror". The 30-minute speech, punctuated by respectful applause and a few standing ovations, was light on substantive reports of progress or details about how sectarian violence would be reduced.
Protester disrupts Iraqi PM address to Congress
As Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Malaki spoke to the U.S. Congress, he was interrupted by an anti-war protester. The protester, a woman wearing a pink shirt that read, "troops home now," was quickly restrained and removed from the room.
Some Democrats have objected to Maliki's address, as the Iraqi government has thus far failed to condemn the actions of Hezbollah, which has captured Israeli soldiers.
A partial transcript of the incident follows the video.
What lies beneath Bush-Maliki plan
“Under the prime minister's leadership, coalition and Iraqi leaders are modifying their operational concept to bring greater security to the Iraqi capital. Coalition and Iraqi forces will secure individual neighborhoods, will ensure the existence of an Iraqi security presence in the neighborhoods, and gradually expand the security presence as Iraqi citizens help them root out those who instigate violence. This plan will involve embedding more U.S. military police with Iraqi police units to make them more effective,” President Bush announced Tuesday following talks with the Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.
Bush's plan simply implies pursuing a new strategy to reclaim control of Baghdad that involves sending Iraq more occupying troops instead of starting a gradual withdrawal, according to The New York Times.
Under the new plan both the U.S. and the Iraqi leaders agreed upon, troops will be concentrated in specific neighborhoods to tighten control over the movement in and out of the capital, in an attempt to eliminate remnants of “insurgency and violent militias”.
Leaders uneasy over Iraq's future
Neither man talked about failure, nor were they likely to, but that was the subtext to the meeting between US President George W Bush and Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Maliki.
The security operation in Baghdad, which the Iraqi leader launched six weeks ago - and which Mr Bush had endorsed during his unannounced visit to the Iraqi capital last month - has not produced results.
Or, more accurately, it has produced the wrong ones.
The upsurge in sectarian violence which has coincided with the crackdown, has seen the Iraqi civilian death toll rise to about 100 per day.
The US military estimates that there have been 40% more major attacks in Baghdad in July, than in previous months.
It has all led a sombre-looking President Bush to approve what a White House official has called the "reshufflement" of American troops in Iraq; essentially, beefing up their numbers in Baghdad.
The scale and timing of the redeployment were not revealed during the White House news conference, although the president's national security advisor, Stephen Hadley, later gave some details of the new security plan, which he described as taking a "more neighbourhood-to-neighbourhood approach".
What the joint news conference did seem to do, though, was shed light on the president's state of mind and on his developing relationship with Mr Maliki, a Shia politician, who is - at once - Iraq's first democratically elected prime minister and - for some - America's last hope for achieving a stable democracy.