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New Administration to Realign Priorities in Iraq, Afghanistan - Yochi Dreazen, Wall Street Journal
The election of Barack Obama will trigger a significant realignment of US national-security priorities, with Afghanistan and Pakistan gaining in prominence as resources are redirected from Iraq.
US policy in the two regions has been shaped by the Bush administration's decision to commit the bulk of the nation's military and financial resources to Iraq, where the ouster of Saddam Hussein set off a prolonged civil war, rather than to Afghanistan. The focus on Iraq left the Afghanistan mission chronically short of troops and money.
The incoming Obama administration sees the challenges differently. Aides said Mr. Obama is likely to deploy tens of thousands of additional US troops to Afghanistan, where security conditions have worsened markedly in recent months and attacks by the Taliban and others have risen. They said Mr. Obama also would devote more attention to neighboring Pakistan, whose support is seen as crucial to defeating the Taliban and al Qaeda and stabilizing Afghanistan.
With security conditions in Iraq continuing to improve, the Pentagon announced Wednesday that a combat brigade of about 4,000 troops from the 101st Airborne Division would leave Iraq six weeks sooner than planned. Several more brigades are expected to leave by next summer.
Those moves free up more troops for use in Afghanistan.
More at The Wall Street Journal.