Well that will be about 1.5 years behind schedule but considering that many of the major goals have been accomplished, this look like it is going to go off pretty close to the plan anyway. So much for staying to dominate Iraq. I imagine that we will keep bases however just as we do in Turkey and Central Asia and Afghanistan and like Japan, Korea and Germany it will be for their own good.
[quote]US hoping to start its withdrawal from Iraq in December
By Oliver Poole in Baghdad
The American military has set a target of December for handing over responsibility for security to Iraqi army and police units, says a classified document being circulated among senior officers.
It is the first time that a date has been put forward for the phasing back of US involvement in controlling the insurgency that has raged for more than two years.
The proposal envisages that after the planned election of a five-year parliament in December the American military would withdraw from patrolling, starting a gradual pull-out from the country. America and Britain have declined to detail an exit strategy in public for fear of encouraging insurgents and being seen to cut and run.
However, the deadline illustrates American confidence that the development of Iraq’s security forces is proceeding as planned.
The police now number almost 87,000 officers and the army has 72,500 troops. A further 19,000 men and women are being trained.
An American officer confirmed that the withdrawal document had been circulated. He emphasised that it was intended as “prudent planning”.
“No one in the chain of command is pushing us to complete our work faster or compromise our developed processes to meet some arbitrary timeline,” he said.
Mowaffak Al-Rubaie, Iraq’s chief security adviser, told CNN’s Late Edition yesterday that larger withdrawals would not take place until the middle of next year.
US military confidence in the security forces has grown in recent months, with Iraqi army and police units conducting several independent operations that resulted in the capture of large rebel cells and the discovery of several significant weapons caches.
Coalition troops formerly described their role as training Iraqi units; the new message is that they “mentor” them. This involves Iraqi forces conducting their own missions, often accompanied by US and British advisers.
Last month Jack Straw, the Foreign Secretary, said he expected British troops to start withdrawing from Iraq next year, a move that would fit in with the proposed American timetable. But for that to happen the rise in rebel activity would have to be halted and elections in December conducted as planned.[/quote]
telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jh … ortal.html