The new defense chief also plans to discuss with Blair and British Defense Secretary Des Browne the situation in southern Iraq and British plans to withdraw part of its forces there this spring.
The new U.S. defense secretary will visit NATO headquarters in Brussels on January 15 for talks with Secretary-General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer.
The Imam Al-Mahdi Army on parade (epa)
HAS THE CONFLICT IN IRAQ BECOME A CIVIL WAR? Many observers have concluded that the tit-for-tat sectarian violence that emerged after the February 2006 bombing of a mosque in Samarra has become a full-blown civil war.... (more)
U.S. Media Starts Using 'Civil War' Label
Iraqi Prime Minister Under Fire From All Sides
U.S. Expert Discusses Prospects For Stabilization
President Says Iraq Needs Iran's Help
Saudi Arabia To Seal Off Border With Security Fence
THE COMPLETE PICTURE: Click on the image to view RFE/RL's complete coverage of events in Iraq and that country's ongoing transition.