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Cheney In Baghdad

March 17, 2008

BAGHDAD (Reuters) – Vice President Dick Cheney, 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.

Vice President Dick Cheney swept into Baghdad on an unannounced ...
Vice President Dick Cheney departs from Andrews Air Force Base.  Cheney swept into Baghdad on an unannounced visit Monday, looking to highlight security gains and promote elusive political progress days before the war enters its sixth year.(AFP/Paul J. Richards)

Cheney, who last visited Baghdad in May, made Iraq the first stop of his nine-day Middle East tour that will also take him to Saudi Arabia, Jerusalem, the Palestinian territories, Turkey and Oman.

He arrived amid an upsurge in violence since January, including a number of suicide bombings that the U.S. military has blamed on al Qaeda.

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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in a photo provided by the U.S. Air Force, Vice President Dick ...
In a photo provided by the U.S. Air Force, Vice President Dick Cheney, center, is seen at Baghdad’s Sather Air Base visiting U.S. commander in Iraq, Gen. David Petraeus, Monday, March 17, 2008.
(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.

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