The US military is planning to move a brigade of troops into Kuwait in what could be the first step of a short-term surge of American forces into Iraq to stabilize the violence.
The 2nd Brigade of the 82nd Airborne Division is expected in Kuwait shortly after the new year, a senior Defense Department official told The Associated Press on Friday. The official requested anonymity because the plans had not yet been announced.
The 2nd Brigade, made up of roughly 3,500 troops, is based at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, and would be deployed in Iraq early next year if needed, the official said. The move would be part of an effort to boost the number of US troops in Iraq for a short time, the official said. The plan was first reported by CBS News.
In a half-hour video conference with President George W. Bush on Friday, Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki outlined plans for the national reconciliation conference taking place in Baghdad on Saturday. Al-Maliki cited the desire of many people in Iraq for a larger core of Iraqi political leaders to come together for the common objective of stabilizing the country and promoting the rule of law, National Security Council spokesman Gordon Johndroe said in describing the conversation.