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More U.S. Troops to Iraq

Defense Department Report, August 25: More U.S. Troops to Iraq

Temporary deployment aimed at added security for upcoming Iraqi elections

The Defense Department announced its plan August 24 to deploy additional U.S. military forces to Iraq on a temporary basis to increase security in advance of Iraqi elections.

Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld approved a request for 1,500 more troops from Army General George Casey who serves as the commander of ground forces in Iraq. The new deployment of two infantry battalions from the 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, will help bolster security for a four-month period.

Casey’s request for additional support was made in consultation with and with the support of the Iraqi government.

Even though the 180,000 Iraqi security forces will still have primary responsibility for maintaining a secure environment for the upcoming elections, Iraqi government and coalition officials anticipate a greater potential for threats in the lead-up to voting.

There are now approximately 138,000 U.S. military personnel serving in Iraq.

Army Major General Rick Lynch told reporters in Baghdad August 25 that attacks by insurgent forces in Iraq are still confined primarily to four of the 18 Iraqi provinces. This reinforces the current military analysis that the insurgency has “no groundswell of support” in the country, he said. Recent insurgent attacks in Iraq do not indicate a growing insurgency because the insurgency needs a national support base to expand its effort, the military spokesman said, something it does not currently have.

In other news of Iraq, a new contingent of Salvadoran troops has rotated into al-Hillah in the central part of the country to advise and train Iraqi security forces. The contingent also is focused on civil-military cooperation and humanitarian assistance functions such as health care and education. An earlier group of Salvadorans worked on building water supply and sewage systems, among other projects.

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