NewsSpecial WireBush reshuffles U.S. military-political leaders in Iraq

Bush reshuffles U.S. military-political leaders in Iraq

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Iran Focus: London, Jan. 05 – President George W. Bush will make sweeping changes in the United States’ military and political command in Iraq, media reports said on Friday. Iran Focus

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London, Jan. 05 – President George W. Bush will make sweeping changes in the United States’ military and political command in Iraq, media reports said on Friday.

The changes are meant as part of a new strategy for Iraq which Bush is expected to unveil in a speech next week.

Highlights of the changes:

• Admiral William J. Fallon will replace General John Abizaid as head of the U.S. Central Command, which oversees troops in the Middle East, including Afghanistan and Iraq. Fallon is currently the naval commander of the U.S. Pacific Command.

• Lt Gen David H. Petraeus will replace General George Casey as the commander of the Multi-National Force – Iraq (MNF-I). Petraeus is currently the commanding general of the U.S. Army Combined Arms Center and Fort Leavenworth.

• Zalmay Khalilzad, the U.S. ambassador to Iraq will leave his post to replace John Bolton as the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, for which he would need Senate approval. Khalilzad’s service at the State Department includes a term as ambassador to Afghanistan.

• Ryan C. Crocker, the current U.S. ambassador to Pakistan will replace Khalilzad as ambassador to Iraq. From May to August 2003, Crocker was in Baghdad as the first Director of Governance for the Coalition Provisional Authority. He was Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs from August 2001 to May 2003, and served previously as U.S. ambassador to Syria (1998-2001), ambassador to Kuwait (1994-1997) and ambassador to Lebanon (1990-1993). Since joining the Foreign Service in 1971, he also has had assignments in Iran, Qatar, Iraq and Egypt, as well as Washington. He was assigned to the American embassy in Beirut during the Israeli invasion of Lebanon in 1982 and the bombings of the embassy and the marine barracks in 1983.

• John Negroponte will resign from his position as Director of National Intelligence and take up the post of Deputy Secretary of State, a post which is currently vacant. Reports said that Negroponte was offered the position by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. He would have to be confirmed by the Senate.

• Vice Admiral Michael McConnell (retired) will replace Negroponte as Director of National Intelligence. McConnell served as Director of the National Security Agency (NSA) from 1992 to 1996.

• Robert Gates became U.S. Secretary of Defence in December, taking over from Donald Rumsfeld. Reports said that he is expected to appoint Lt. Gen. James R. Clapper (retired) as his undersecretary for intelligence. Clapper was director of the Defense Intelligence Agency from 1991 to 1995.

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