U.S. troops out of Iraq within next 18 months? - Interior minister believes new government can handle security situation by mid 2006 (WND-WORLD NET DAILY) 01/30/05 9:28 p.m. Eastern)
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U.S. troops stationed in Iraq could be out of the war-torn country by
the middle of next year, if all goes well.
That according to Iraqi interim Interior Minister Falah al-Naqib, who
told Britain´s Channel 4 News that coalition forces would likely not
be necessary in a year and a half.
"I think we will not need the multinational, foreign forces, in this
country within 18 months," al-Naqib said. "I think we will be able to
depend on ourselves, if everything goes in the right direction.
"We are building our forces and I think we will need 18 months. It´s
my estimate that we will have quite a reasonable-sized force,
trained, well-trained force, well-equipped to protect the country. So
I believe very much that we won´t need more than 18 months."
His optimism was tempered, though, by Iraqi national security adviser
Mowaffak al-Rubaie, who told CNN he believes the U.S.-led force
should remain in Iraq for "at least a couple of years" until Iraq´s
security force is up to speed.
"Then and only then, we will ask the multinational forces to leave
Iraq," he said. "Practically speaking, we need the multinational
forces to stay in Iraq for the foreseeable future."
Meanwhile, U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice says American
troops will remain in Iraq until the country´s forces can handle
security on their own, adding there was no timetable for withdrawal.
"The coalition is there under a U.N. mandate to help the Iraqis
because they´re not quite capable yet of carrying out their own
security functions," Rice said on CNN´s "Late Edition." "But we are
concentrating on training those forces."
Some 120,000 Iraqi security personnel – including over 50,000 police –
have been trained, but Rice says many are not battle-tested.
"No one really knows how well they´re going to fight until they´re in
a fight," she said.
On NBC´s "Meet the Press," Sen. John Kerry expressed dismay at the
condition of the Iraqi forces.
"I´m appalled at the level of training that´s been taking place," the
ex-presidential candidate said. "Other countries could be training
He also suggested the U.S. might wear out its welcome in the country.
"I wouldn´t be surprised if they even asked us to leave in some way
over a period of time," he said. "I wouldn´t be surprised if the
administration privately, behind closed doors, asked them to ask us
to leave." (© 2005 WorldNetDaily.com, Inc. 01/30/05)
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