BAGHDAD (Reuters) –, an architect of the U.S-led invasion of Iraq, made an unannounced visit to Baghdad on Monday, just days before the fifth anniversary of the war.
Cheney, who last visited Baghdad in May, madethe first stop of his nine-day Middle East tour that will also take him to , , the Palestinian territories, Turkey and .
He arrived amid an upsurge in violence since January, including a number of suicide bombings that thehas blamed on .
|General David Petraeus|
|ABC News reported that Vice President Cheney was meeting with the General in the Green Zone for a “classified briefing.”|
But military commanders say this does not represent a trend and that attacks are actually down 60 percent from the middle of last year.
Cheney, a strong supporter of sending an additional 30,000 U.S. troops to Iraq last year, has warned critics that a premature U.S. withdrawal would spark chaos and further bloodshed.
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(AP Photo/U.S. Air Force/Master Sgt. And y Dunaway)
The New York Times reported:
Cheney landed at Baghdad International Airport, then flew by helicopter into the dusty, heavily secured Green Zone for talks with U.S. military and diplomatic officials and Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. It is Cheney’s third vice presidential trip to Iraq where 160,000 American troops are deployed and the U.S. death toll is nearing 4,000.
Cheney’s first meeting was a classified briefing with U.S. Ambassador Ryan Crocker and Gen. David Petraeus, the top U.S. military commander in Iraq who met him at the airport. Crocker and Petraeus are scheduled to travel to Washington next month to give a status report on the war.