Vice President Dick Cheney visited Iraq this morning, beginning a 10-day tour of the middle east that will include meetings with leaders of Oman, Israel, Saudi Arabia and Turkey.
Cheney’s unannounced visit to the Iraqi capital will center on the Bush administration’s priorities for the young government: promoting political unity, praising military success and pushing for a national oil-sharing agreement among the country’s three ethnicities. The administration will also press Iraq’s Presidential Council to hold provincial elections; the council denied the Iraqi legislature’s request for an election last month despite Cheney’s support.
Cheney’s visit to the heavily fortified Green Zone in central Baghdad marks his third trip since the American-led invasion began five years ago this week. Nearly four thousand troops have died since the invasion; 160,000 remain today.
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