Iraq Willing To Allow Early US Troop Withdrawal
The Iraqi government has indicated that it is ready to assume security over the country in the event that U.S. troops are withdrawn prior to the 2011 date agreed to by the Bush Administration.
Obama promised during the campaign to withdraw all U.S. combat troops from Iraq within 16 months of taking office. The new president said in his inaugural address Tuesday that he would “begin to responsibly leave Iraq to its people.”
The government-owned newspaper Al-Sabah reported Wednesday that Iraqi authorities have drafted contingency plans in case Obama orders a “sudden” withdrawal of all forces and not just combat troops.
Al-Dabbagh told Associated Press Television News that Iraqis had been worried about a quick U.S. departure.
But with the emphasis on a responsible withdrawal, al-Dabbagh said the Iraqi government was willing for the U.S. to leave “even before the end of 2011.” The Bush administration agreed in a security agreement signed in November to remove all U.S. troops by the end of 2011.
The chairman of parliament’s defense committee, Abbas al-Bayati, told The Associated Press on Wednesday that the Iraqis hoped Obama would stick by the timeline laid the agreement.
“Nevertheless, we already have a ‘Plan B,’ which is that we have the ability to deploy any needed troops to any hot area in Iraq,” al-Bayati said. “We are capable of controlling the situation in the country and we believe we have passed the worst” despite a lack of air and artillery power.”
Despite this, I’m willing to wager that the actual withdrawal date will be closer to Bush’s 2011 date than Obama’s early 2010 date.