Bush: Target Iranian
Operatives in Iraq
26 January 2007
Bush is reported to have authorized the U.S. military to kill or capture
Iranian operatives inside Iraq.
The Washington Post quotes U.S. officials as saying the move is part of
a strategy to weaken Iran's influence in the region and to force Tehran
to abandon its nuclear activities.
When asked about the report, Mr. Bush said Friday, that U.S. policy is
to "protect" American troops. He added that it would be wrong to presume
that means expanding the conflict beyond Iraq's borders.
The U.S. accuses Iran of providing training and material support to
Iraqi insurgents, and several Iranian officials have been detained in
U.S. raids in recent weeks.
Iran has condemned the raids and urged Iraq to secure the release of its
The Washington Post says that for more than a year before the decision
to target Iranian agents, U.S. forces in Iraq have been secretly
detaining suspected Iranian agents.
F/A-18E Super Hornet assigned to the “Pukin’ Dogs” of Strike Fighter
Squadron 143 launches from the flight deck of the Nimitz-class aircraft
carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower in the U.S. Naval Forces Central
Command area of responsibility, Jan. 10.
The report said U.S. forces held the agents for a few days, taking DNA
samples as well as photographs and fingerprints.
The Post says the "catch and release" policy was designed to avoid
escalating tensions with Iran and yet intimidate its emissaries.
President Bush also had strong words for members of Congress who oppose
his new Iraq strategy, saying "I am the decision maker" on sending more
The president said some lawmakers are condemning the plan before it has
had a chance to work, and added that they have an obligation to come up
with their own plan.
Mr. Bush spoke to reporters after meeting with Defense Secretary Robert
Gates and top military commanders at the White House Friday. The
president thanked the U.S. Senate for confirming Army Lieutenant General
David Petraeus to become the new top U.S. commander in Iraq.
The vote in the Senate approving the nomination of General Petraeus was
unanimous, at 81-0.
On Wednesday, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee passed a
non-binding resolution declaring the deployment of additional troops to
Iraq is not in the national interest. That resolution is to go to the
full Senate for debate as early as next week.
Mr. Bush's new Iraq strategy includes sending an additional 21,500
troops into Iraq to bolster security.