The Bush administration is concerned about the imminent withdrawal of British troops from the southern Iraq city of Basra.
The British have scaled down operations already. Their troops have been forced to abandon the city and are camped out at the airport, where they are under regular bombardment from Iraqis.
Meanwhile, Shiite militias battle each other for control of the south and its riches.
When the British leave, the U.S. will have to move in, in large part to protect valuable supply lines from Kuwait up to Baghdad.