I sent this story earlier in the day but I think it
never went through, so sorry if you get it twice.
Iraq expects foreign troops to pull out mid-2006
01 May 2005 18:31:19 GMT
WASHINGTON, May 1 (Reuters) - U.S. and other foreign
troops in Iraq will likely start pulling out in large
numbers by the middle of next year, Iraq's national
security advisor said on Sunday.
"I will be very surprised if they (U.S. and other
foreign troops) don't think very seriously of starting
pulling out probably by the end of the first half of
next year," said Iraqi national security adviser
Mowaffak Al-Rubaie in an interview with CNN's "Late
When pressed on exact numbers expected to leave,
Al-Rubaie said this depended on how quickly Iraqi
troops could be trained and armed to take over.
Twenty-five months after the invasion to topple Saddam
Hussein, the United States has 138,000 troops in Iraq
battling a relentless insurgency and training Iraqi
The United States has not given a timetable for
withdrawing its troops and U.S. President George W.
Bush has said repeatedly that U.S. soldiers will leave
only when their job is finished and Iraqi forces can
Last week, America's top general, Air Force Gen.
Richard Myers, said rebels were attacking 50 or 60
times a day in Iraq -- about the same as a year ago.
On Sunday, a suicide bomber killed 15 people at a
funeral procession at the northern Iraqi town of
Al-Rubaie said the new Iraqi government was determined
to quell violence in Iraq by the end of this year.
"I think we are winning -- on the winning course,
there is no doubt about it. The level of violence is
not measured only by the number of explosions every
day, or the number of casualties," he said.
He added: "There is no shadow of doubt in my mind,
that by the end of the year, we would have achieved a
lot, and probably the back of the insurgency has
already been broken."