British Foreign Minister calls for additional troop deployment to Iraq
British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw has warned Prime Minister Blair that the UK must deploy 5,000 extra troops in Iraq or risk "strategic failure" of the "coalition's efforts to keep peace", according to a newspaper report Thursday.
Straw's fears about the "deteriorating" situation in Iraq are spelt out in notes drawn up for a meeting between himself and Blair and leaked to the British paper.
Straw's notes, drafted by civil servants and fully approved by the foreign secretary according to the Daily Telegraph, expressed that London's current Iraq force of 10,500 was incapable of providing the level of rebuilding needed in the country following the US-led war against Baghdad.
Straw said Iraqis' expectations for reconstruction were not being met. "Electricity generation still around 25 percent below war levels, and transmission undermined by looting and sabotage," his notes said, adding that "visible improvements" must be made by the beginning of the holy Muslim month of Ramadan in October.
The "lack of political progress in solving the linked problems of security, infrastructure and the political process are undermining the consent of the Iraqi people to the coalition presence and providing fertile ground for extremists and terrorists", Straw said. (Albawaba.com)
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