Bush to say Iraq is front line against Iran


From correspondents in Bellevue
August 28, 2007 12:01pm

US President George W. Bush tomorrow will describe Iraq as the front-line against Shiite extremism championed by Iran and the Sunni extremism of Al-Qaeda, an aide said today.

Mr Bush was due to level the charge in a speech to the American Legion veterans group, the second of two presidential addresses meant to bolster support for the war in Iraq ahead of a critical September 15 progress report.

"The president will talk about Sunni extremism and Shia extremism. Neither represents Islam. They represent a brutal and heartless ideology of death and destruction," a senior aide said in a preview of the speech.

"Sunni extremism is embodied by Al Qaeda and its many affiliates. Shia extremism by Iran and its support of Hezbollah, Hamas, the Taliban and its pursuit of nuclear technology," the official said on condition of anonymity.

"Iraq is at the heart of where these two extremisms must be dealt with," the official said as Mr Bush travelled here for a political fundraiser.

"Al Qaeda in Iraq and Iranian armed and supported Shia militias continue to undermine the Iraqi struggle for security and stability and continue to kill Americans forces," the official said.

Mr Bush will plead for patience from lawmakers pending an assessment on the war from the US commander in Iraq, General David Petraeus, and the US ambassador to Baghdad, Ryan Crocker, the official said.

Mr Bush is to deliver the speech in Reno, Nevada.