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US readying new plan for Iraq


Washington : Top US commanders and diplomats in Iraq are close to completing a new campaign plan for the country, which foresees the removal of hardened sectarian players from Iraq's security forces and government.

The classified plan was scheduled to be finished by the end of the month and was being drawn up by General David Petraeus, the top American general in Iraq and US Ambassador Ryan Crocker, the Washington Post reported Wednesday.

The main goal of the plan is to negotiate settlements between warring factions in Iraq from the national level down to the local level. It also seeks to keep US troop levels elevated into next year and to increase the size of the 144,000-strong Iraqi army, sources told the newspaper on condition of anonymity.

The plan calls for placing the immediate emphasis of military operations on protecting Iraq's population in troubled areas, focusing on critical regions such as greater Baghdad.

The plan also emphasizes building the government's capacity to function, in contrast to the previous policy, which focused on rapidly handing over responsibility to Iraq's government.

The campaign plan aims to purge Iraq's leadership of officials and commanders whose sectarian agendas are standing in the way of US efforts.