Our first topic today concerns American service men and women in the Middle East. Yesterday we told you about the back and forth attacks involving the U.S. and Iran. Those have been carried out over the past few weeks in Iran's western neighbor Iraq. That country is an ally of both America and Iran. Experts estimate that thousands of American troops are in Iraq. 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. Analysts believe lawmakers are trying to keep Iraq from being caught in the middle of the conflict between the U.S. and Iran. But a large part of the Iraqi population doesn't agree with the decision. It wants American troops to stay and many of Iraq's lawmakers didn't attend the vote. It's not clear if the decision will actually lead to American troops leaving. There are deep divisions in Iraq. After the Iranian general was killed there, some Iraqis celebrated in the streets. 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 nations are hoping that tensions between the U.S. and Iran calmed down and that a conflict will be avoided. One challenge for America is deciding how many troops will serve in the region and where they should be stationed. The Pentagon is deploying an additional 3,500 American troops to the area according to estimates. Officials want to have an increased U.S. presence there in case Iran takes revenge for the air strike against its general as the nation has promised it would.
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