CRAWFORD - The US rationale for war in Iraq has morphed from ousting strongman Saddam Hussein, to countering Al-Qaeda militants to its latest incarnation — facing down what officials in President George W.
Bush's administration call the Iranian "threat".
"Iraq is the convergence point for two of the greatest threats to America in this new century: Al-Qaeda and Iran," Bush said last week, renewing accusations that the Islamic republic is backing Iraqi militias hostile to US forces and covertly seeking nuclear weapons.
"If we succeed in
With Saddam dead and
'special groups' pose the greatest long-term threat to the viability of a
democratic Iraq," Petraeus said last week as he
told US lawmakers of military strategy in Iraq for the coming mont
However, exactly what steps
Bush told ABC
"The message to the Iranians is: we will bring you to justice if you continue to try to infiltrate, send your agents or send surrogates to bring harm to our troops and/or the Iraqi citizens," Bush said.
Asked to elaborate on this "justice," Bush replied: "It means capture or kill, is what that means."
Bush repeated that "all options need to be on the table, but my first effort is to solve this issue diplomatically," and added that he was amused by unfounded rumors of an impending attack.
"I'm chuckling, because, you know, from my perch, my perspective, these rumors happen all the time … I wouldn't say they're amusing.
It's part of the job, I guess."
Defense Secretary Robert
Gates on Sunday confirmed
into a confrontation with
"We are concerned about
their activities in the south. We are concerned about the weapons that they are
sending in — that they continue to send in to
The defense secretary noted
that a recent government offensive against Shiite militias in the southern
Iraqi city of
The paper quoted former US under secretary of state Thomas Pickering as saying that a group of former US diplomats and foreign policy experts had been meeting with Iranian academics and policy advisers "in a lot of different places, although not in the US or Iran" for the past five years.
Still, speculation has been
rife over a potential
Crocker on Friday foresaw a
similar reaction in
Yet the Bush administration has launched "an inter-agency assessment of what is known about Iranian activities and intentions, how to combat them and how to capitalize on them," the Washington Post reported Saturday.
Brookings Institution expert
Suzanne Maloney said that "disastrous Bush policies fostered a sectarian
"Rather than serving as
an anchor for a new era of stability and American pre-eminence in the Persian
Gulf, the new
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