President Bush appears ready to send the surge:
President Bush’s new Iraq strategy calls for a rapid influx of forces that could add as many as 20,000 American combat troops to Baghdad, supplemented with a jobs program costing as much as $1 billion intended to employ Iraqis in projects including painting schools and cleaning streets, according to American officials who are piecing together the last parts of the initiative.
The American officials said that Iraq’s prime minister, Nuri Kamal al-Maliki, formally agreed in a long teleconference on Thursday with Mr. Bush to match the American troop increase, made up of five combat brigades that would come in at a rate of roughly one a month, by sending three additional Iraqi brigades to Baghdad over the next month and a half.
While al-Maliki appears ready to battle ALL militias:
Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki said on Saturday that Iraq’s armed forces are set for an assault on Baghdad to take out militias and rogue security forces.
Aided by multinational troops, the Iraqi forces "will hunt down all outlaws regardless of their sectarian and political affiliations," al-Maliki said at an Iraqi Army Day parade.
"We will also severely punish those [security forces] who do not carry out orders or operate in a partisan or sectarian way," he said.
Forces will search out insurgents neighborhood-by-neighborhood, The Associated Press reported, and will start the assault this weekend. The announcement came two days after al-Maliki and President Bush spoke by video conference for two hours.
And I have to say it’s about time. The surge will help things in the short term of course, but the major news is that Maliki will be taking the fight to the militias. Lets hope he has the courage and conviction to see that through.
Of course the Democrats are making faces at the news:
The new Democratic leaders of the Senate and the House warned President Bush on Friday against sending additional troops to Iraq, setting the stage for what could become a major confrontation over a new war strategy.
Mr. Bush is expected to call for more troops in a speech as soon as Wednesday, as part of a renewed effort to secure Baghdad. But Nancy Pelosi, the new speaker of the House, and Harry Reid, the new Senate majority leader, dismissed that approach as a strategy “that has already failed.”
“Adding more combat troops will only endanger more Americans and stretch our military to the breaking point for no strategic gain,” Mrs. Pelosi and Mr. Reid wrote in a letter to Mr. Bush. “We are well past the point of more troops for Iraq,” they added, urging Mr. Bush to begin a “phased redeployment,” or gradual withdrawal.
Not all Democrats agree with the position their leaders staked out in the letter on Friday, just days before Mr. Bush is expected to announce a broad strategy involving more troops, accelerated training of Iraqi forces and a large increase in economic and reconstruction aid to Iraq. But the release of the letter suggests that a major political battle may be brewing.
They can make all the faces they want. They can make all the threats they want. They will NOT have bipartisan support for cutting off funding or putting a cap on the amount of troops inside Iraq. They will soon get it through their thick skulls that their 2 years in a leadership position will accomplish nothing except gridlock.
UPDATE 2010hrs PST
And the opening battle has commenced:
In the opening battle of a major drive to tame the violent capital, the Iraqi army reported it killed 30 militants Saturday in a firefight in a Sunni insurgent stronghold just north of the heavily fortified Green Zone.
Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, speaking only hours earlier at a ceremony marking the 85th anniversary of the Iraqi army, announced his intention for the open-ended attempt to crush the militant fighters who have left Baghdad in the grip of sectarian violence.
Hassan al-Suneid, a key aide and member of al-Maliki’s Dawa Party, said the Iraqi leader had committed 20,000 soldiers to the operation and would call upon American troops and airpower only when needed.
A stern al-Maliki told the nation the operation in Baghdad would continue "until all goals are achieved and security is ensured for all citizens.
"We are fully aware that implementing the plan will lead to some harassment for all beloved Baghdad residents, but we are confident they fully understand the brutal terrorist assault we all face," he said.
30 less to worry about.
TheyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re going over the edgeÃ¢â‚¬Â¦DRUNK with power!
Drudge is reporting (via Bloomberg):
Senate Majority Whip Richard Durbin of Illinois, the No. 2 Senate Democrat, said Democrats are considering options to limit the U.S. involvement, including setting a cap on U.S. troop levels and requiring Bush to obtain congressional approval to exceed it.
The letter from Pelosi and Reid comes as Bush prepares to lay out a plan next week for new U.S. steps in Iraq and signals DemocratsÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ efforts to thwart any troop increase or exact a political price if Bush orders one.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“There will be the eyes of the American people on everything the president does in Iraq, for a change,Ã¢â‚¬â„¢Ã¢â‚¬â„¢ Reid told reporters today. Ã¢â‚¬Å“The people of this country no longer support this war in Iraq.Ã¢â‚¬â„¢Ã¢â‚¬â„¢
Are Durbin and Reid kidding? Doubt itÃ¢â‚¬Â¦but, they only have a one vote majority. Still it breathtaking to see them try this.
I posted an article I found in the Telegrapgh UK written by the author of the reconmendation for the surge You may want to read it…. Its a good one