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Iraq plans for possible quick U.S. pullout

Discussion in 'News & Events' started by SurfSarge, May 22, 2007.

  1. SurfSarge

    SurfSarge misfit

    BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) -- Iraq's military is drawing up plans to cope with any quick U.S. military pullout, the defense minister said, as a senior American official warned that the Bush administration may reconsider its support if Iraqi leaders do not make major reforms by fall.

    The U.S. official did not say what actions could be taken by the White House, but his comments on Monday reflected the Bush administration's need to show results in Iraq -- as an answer to pressure by the Democrats in Congress seeking to set timetables on the U.S. military presence.

    Several mortar shells hit the U.S.-controlled Green Zone on Monday, one striking the Iraqi parliament building but causing no casualties -- the latest in near daily barrages on the nerve center of the U.S. mission and Iraqi government that underline the country's tenuous security.

    With violence raging, pressure is mounting on Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's government to demonstrate progress on key reforms or risk losing American support for the unpopular war.

    On Monday, Defense Minister Abdul-Qader al-Obeidi told reporters Iraq's military was drawing up plans in case U.S.-led forces left the country quickly.

    "The army plans on the basis of a worst-case scenario so as not to allow any security vacuum," al-Obeidi said. "There are meetings with political leaders on how we can deal with a sudden pullout."

    It was unclear whether al-Obeidi's comment referred to routine contingency planning or reflected a feeling among Iraqi leaders that the days of U.S. support may be numbered even though U.S. President George W. Bush blocked an effort by Congress to set a withdrawal timetable.

    A White House spokesman, Tony Fratto, said Bush expressed confidence in al-Maliki during a telephone call Monday to the Iraqi leader.

    He said the two talked about political progress in Iraq, and al-Maliki gave Bush updates on two key U.S. demands -- legislation to share Iraq's oil wealth among its regions and ethnic groups and a reform of the constitution.

    But two senior Iraqi officials told The Associated Press that Bush warned al-Maliki that Washington expected to see "tangible results quickly" on the oil bill and other legislation as the price for continued support.

    The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not supposed to release the information.

    In London, a senior U.S. official echoed that warning, saying the Bush administration wanted signs of progress by fall or it would be forced to reconsider its policy in Iraq.

    The official, who briefed reporters on condition his name not be published, said the top American diplomat and military commander in Iraq would submit a report on Iraqi progress in September.

    "If one looks at when critical progress is to be made, one would be best advised to look at this fall as a key point," the official said.
    Mounting pressure

    Senior Kurdish lawmaker Mahmoud Othman confirmed that U.S. pressure was mounting, especially on the oil bill, which was endorsed by the Iraqi Cabinet three months ago but has yet to come to the floor of parliament.

    "The Americans are pressuring us to accept the oil law. Their pressure is very strong. They want to show Congress that they have done something so they want the law to be adopted this month. This interference is negative and will have consequences," Othman told AP.

    Kurdish legislators oppose the formula for distributing oil revenues among the Iraqi communities, arguing for a greater say in how the money is disbursed.

    Major Shiite and Kurdish parties oppose several proposed changes in the constitution, as well as Sunni Arab demands for a loosening of rules banning former Saddam Hussein supporters from government jobs.

    Prospects for far-reaching agreements among Sunnis, Shiites and Kurds were thrown into doubt over the weekend when the leader of the largest Shiite party, Abdul-Aziz al-Hakim, was diagnosed with lung cancer at a hospital in Houston.

    Al-Hakim, who left the U.S. for treatment in Iran, delivered a televised address Monday in which he said he was suffering from a "limited tumor" but expected to return to the country soon.

    U.S. officials had been counting on al-Hakim to help push through reforms, and a lengthy absence could make it difficult to deliver Shiite support.

    The Iraqi newspaper Azzaman, meanwhile, reported Monday that one of its reporters, Ali Khalil, 22, was kidnapped while leaving a relative's house in the increasingly volatile Baiyaa neighborhood of Baghdad and found dead several hours later. He is survived by his wife and week-old baby, the newspaper said.

    The attack came three days after two Iraqi journalists working for ABC News were ambushed and killed on their way home from work. The New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists said 104 journalists -- not including Khalil -- had been killed in Iraq since the 2003 U.S.-led invasion. About 80 percent of those were Iraqis, it said.
  2. travelman

    travelman Well-Known Member

    a quick pullout? ::)
    when a girl tells u she is not on the pill, thats a quick pullout :eek: