Iraq ‘not ready’ for US pull-out

August 12, 2010 04:45

Iraq’s top army officer says US pull-out plans are premature, as Washington says troops are on target to end combat operations by the end of the month. Lt Gen Babaker Zebari warned that the Iraqi military might not be ready to take control for another decade.

BBC News

“Gen Zebari’s warning echoes the remark by Saddam Hussein’s former Foreign Minister Tarik Aziz last week that the Americans were “leaving Iraq to the wolves”.

But the White House says President Barack Obama is satisfied with the progress made in Iraq, which will allow US troops to transfer security to local forces as planned.

Gen Zebari told a defence conference in Baghdad that the Iraqi army would not be able to ensure the country’s security until 2020 and that the US should keep its troops in Iraq until then.

“At this point, the withdrawal [of US forces] is going well, because they are still here, but the problem will start after 2011,” he said.

“The politicians must find other ways to fill the void after 2011… If I were asked about the withdrawal, I would say to politicians: the US army must stay until the Iraqi army is fully ready in 2020.”


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