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Fri Jan 12 2007 (Updated 01/14/07) US Escalates War
On Wednesday, January 10, George Bush gave a "major policy address" announcing an increase in US troop levels in Iraq. He said he "took responsibility" for past mistakes but that more troops are needed to pacify Baghdad and other parts of the country. The first wave of additional troops has already begun deploying to the region, and a total of six brigades will be ordered all together, five into the city of Baghdad and one into Anbar Province. Bush has also sent an additional aircraft carrier task force into the Persian Gulf.
US offensive in Baghdad begins surge of killing and repression | Bush Sends GIs to his Private Fantasyland | Bush Surges Iraq Troops, Admits Mistakes | Robert Fisk: Bush's new strategy | Bush's final throw of dice to pacify Iraq | In defiance of 2006 vote, Bush will escalate Iraq war | Bush to offer $1bn in aid and 20,000 troops to Iraq

As President Bush announced plans to escalate the war in Iraq, he also threatened direct military action against Iran and Syria. Bush stated: "Succeeding in Iraq also requires defending its territorial integrity and stabilizing the region in the face of extremist challenges. This begins with addressing Iran and Syria. These two regimes are allowing terrorists and insurgents to use their territory to move in and out of Iraq. Iran is providing material support for attacks on American troops. We will disrupt the attacks on our forces. We will interrupt the flow of support from Iran and Syria. And we will seek out and destroy the networks providing advanced weaponry and training to our enemies in Iraq."
Hours after the President spoke, U.S. forces raided the Iranian consulate office in the northern Iraqi city of Arbil. According to local Kurdish officials, US troops broke into the building and confiscated computers and documents. The US military did not bother to inform any Iraqi government officials or the regional Kurdish government of their plans. A statement from Kurdish authorities pointed out that the consulate was protected by international agreement
US forces carry out provocative raid on Iran’s consulate in northern Iraq | US Forces Storm Iranian Consulate in Irbil | In speech on Iraq escalation, Bush promises more bloodshed, wider war | Bush's tough tactics are a 'declaration of war' on Iran | Bush Escalates Iraq War with 20,000 More Troops; Threatens Iran, Syria with Military Action | U.S. forces raid Iranian consulate in Iraq | US to target "anti-Iraq activity"

Most Iraqis interviewed after Bush's speech doubted that US President George W. Bush's newly-unveiled strategy would make much difference in their lives, but a few felt like it would make things much worse. The first reactions by the European press to George W. Bush’s proposal to send an additional 20,000 soldiers to Iraq ranged from scepticism to outright rejection. UK Prime Minister Tony Blair came out in support of Bush's plans and Australian Prime Minister John Howard held a press conference to announce his unqualified support.

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