Us Raids Iran Consulate After Bush Warning
Quote:US troops raided Iran's consulate in northern Iraq yesterday, arresting five staff, hours after US President George W. Bush vowed to cut off Iranian and Syrian support to "terrorists" in Iraq.
Outlining his new strategy for Iraq, Mr Bush accused Iran and Syria of supporting elements intent on attacking US troops in the war-torn, country and left open the way for US attacks on the two countries.
His threat appeared to have been carried out with the raid on Iran's consulate in the northern Iraqi city of Arbil.
"In this attack, five of the consulate staff have been arrested by the American troops. They have also taken some documents and properties," the Iranian newsagency Fars quoted an official as saying.
"In the US occupiers' attack on Iran's general consulate in Arbil, the raiders have broken the gate of the office."
The US military said its forces made six arrests in Arbil, but did not confirm if any were Iranians.
During his address, the President took the blame for strategic blunders. "The situation in Iraq is unacceptable to the American people, and it is unacceptable to me," Mr Bush said. "Where mistakes have been made, the responsibility rests with me."
In a rare admission of failure, Mr Bush pointed to the past efforts to secure Baghdad, and said not enough US and Iraqi troops had been deployed.
He said the Iraqi Government had placed politically driven restrictions on who could be targeted and how. Under the new plan, Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki pledged to reinforce Baghdad security with up to 12,000 Iraqi troops and made clear that rogue armed groups in the city would be targeted.
"Our military commanders reviewed the new Iraqi plan to ensure it addressed these mistakes," Mr Bush said in a national address aimed at selling his new strategy for the war. "They report that it does. They also report that this plan can work."
But success in Iraq was linked with success in stabilising the broader region, he said, adding: "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 onour forces. We will interrupt theflow of support from Iran andSyria.
"And we will seek out and destroy the networks providing advanced weaponry and training to our enemies in Iraq."
Mr Bush said he had ordered the deployment of an additional carrier strike group and Patriot anti-missile systems in the Middle East to beef up security in the region and "reassure our friends andallies".
The US has rapidly upgraded the capability of the Patriot systems, which provide air andmissile defence, following theirrelative lack of success in the first Gulf War.
Washington is now trying to sell the weapon to several Middle East nations increasingly worried about their security.
Citing countries such as Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan and the Gulf States, Mr Bush said they needed to understand that a US defeat in Iraq would "create a new sanctuary for extremists - and a strategic threat to their ownsurvival".
"These nations have a stake in a successful Iraq that is at peace with its neighbours, and they must step up their support for Iraq's unity Government," Mr Bush said.
"From Afghanistan to Lebanon to the Palestinian Territories, millions of ordinary people are sick of the violence, and want a future of peace and opportunity for their children.
"And they are looking at Iraq. They want to know: will America withdraw and yield the future of that country to the extremists - or will we stand with the Iraqis who have made the choice for freedom?"
Mr Bush said the US would work with other countries to prevent Iran from gaining nuclear weapons and dominating the region, and would help the Turkish and Iraqi governments to resolve their border problems.
US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice will leave for the Middle East today to build support for the Iraq plan, and continue "the urgent diplomacy" required to help bring peace to the region, Mr Bush said. "The challenge playing out across the broader Middle East is more than a military conflict.
"It is the decisive ideological struggle of our time," he said.
The revolution is not an apple that falls when it is ripe. You have to make it fall. - Che Guevara
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