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Britain to Deploy Additional Forces in Persian Gulf


Britain says it will send another 26,000 troops to the Persian Gulf region to step up pressure on Iraq to disarm.

The call up will include the British Army's Seventh Armored Brigade, known as the "Desert Rats." The deployment includes 120 battle tanks and 150 armored personnel carriers.

In all, Defense Secretary Hoon says 26,000 more British troops will be sent to the Persian Gulf region, joining 4,000 who have already gotten their orders. 1500 reservists are also being mobilized.

Besides the deployment of ground forces, Britain's biggest naval task force in 20 years is sailing toward the Gulf for long-planned training exercises involving 3,000 Royal Marines and 5,000 sailors.

Mr. Hoon told parliament the aim is to keep up the pressure on Iraqi President Saddam Hussein.

"These are measures necessary to provide a range of military options, which we may require," he said. "A decision to employ force has not been taken, nor is such a decision imminent or inevitable. But I must also emphasize, as all members of this House will recognize, that the deployment of forces on this scale is no ordinary measure. Whilst we want Saddam Hussein to disarm voluntarily, it is evident that we will not achieve this unless we continue to present him with a clear and credible threat of force,"

In a separate development, British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw said it would be sensible to give Saddam Hussein exile somewhere outside of Iraq as a way of avoiding war.

Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld raised the idea during an interview Sunday, and Secretary of State Colin Powell also endorsed it.

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