Our first topic today concerns American service menand women in the Middle East. Yesterday we told youabout the back and forth attacks involving the U.S. and Iran. Those have been carried out over thepast few weeks in Iran's western neighbor Iraq. Thatcountry is an ally of both America and Iran. Expertsestimate that thousands of American troops are inIraq. So are a number of militias that Iran supports.
A U.S. air strike killed a high ranking Iranian general last week in the Iraqi capital of Baghdad. Afterward, Iraq's parliament voted to expel American troops from the country. Analystsbelieve lawmakers are trying to keep Iraq from being caught in the middle of the conflictbetween the U.S. and Iran. But a large part of the Iraqi population doesn't agree with thedecision. It wants American troops to stay and many of Iraq's lawmakers didn't attend thevote. It's not clear if the decision will actually lead to American troops leaving. There are deepdivisions in Iraq. After the Iranian general was killed there, some Iraqis celebrated in thestreets. Others mourned at his funeral and called for revenge against America.
The U.S. has military bases in several countries across the Middle East. Many of those nationsare hoping that tensions between the U.S. and Iran calmed down and that a conflict will beavoided. One challenge for America is deciding how many troops will serve in the region andwhere they should be stationed. The Pentagon is deploying an additional 3,500 Americantroops to the area according to estimates. Officials want to have an increased U.S. presencethere in case Iran takes revenge for the air strike against its general as the nation haspromised it would.