Bush called for more time for troops to defeat militants in Iraq (file photo) (AFP)
July 24, 2007 (RFE/RL) -- U.S. President George W. Bush today reiterated his view that Iraq is central to the U.S.-led war on terror.
Speaking to an audience of U.S. servicemen, Bush said "there will be a big defeat in Iraq and it will be the defeat of Al-Qaeda."
Bush said the group Al-Qaeda in Iraq was run by foreign militants loyal to Osama bin Laden to achieve Al-Qaeda's political goals. "It's hard to argue that Al-Qaeda in Iraq is separate from bin Laden's Al-Qaeda when the leader of Al-Qaeda in Iraq took an oath of allegiance to Osama bin Laden," Bush said.
Bush said he made those remarks to refute claims that Al-Qaeda in Iraq was a separate, mainly Iraqi-led group.
He also said that the United States must give its military leaders in Iraq the time and resources they need so they can defeat the terrorist group.
Bush's speech comes amid criticism of his Iraq strategy from political opponents as well as some members of his own party.