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Report: No Change Expected From White House on Iraq

A published report says President Bush is expected to continue his current strategy in Iraq after the release of a much-anticipated progress report on the military and political situation there.

White House officials told The Washington Post  they will not consider making making any major policy changes before early next year.

The officials say they expect the upcoming report by Army General David Petraeus and Ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker to show real improvements in security over the past year. The officials say the president will assert that now is not the time to make any big changes.

The newspaper says a number of White House officials and their supporters believe they are gaining support for keeping 160,000 troops in Iraq, including the 20,000 additional troops sent to Iraq this year.

They point out that a number of opposition Democrats have spoken positively of an improving security situation in Iraq.

The White House is under pressure to begin withdrawing troops from Iraq from Democrats and even members of Mr. Bush's own Republican Party, such as Senator John Warner, who is urging Mr. Bush to withdraw some troops by December. Some military advisors are also likely to urge the president to draw down U.S. forces because of concerns the military might get overburdened.

The Post says White House officials expect Mr. Bush and General Petraeus, the top military commander in Iraq, to begin outlining a "post-surge" strategy, with April 2008 as a target date.

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