Iraq Wants U.S. Withdrawal to Begin Soon
The Iraqi transitional government has called for a speedy withdrawal of U.S. forces. Iraqi Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari made this request in a joint news conference with U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld today.
U.S. commanders later acknowledge that substantial withdrawal could begin as early as next spring. This is, they say, contingent on training and deploying more Iraqi security forces--a process al-Jaafari also said should be speeded up.
Everyone has always said that we shouldn't stay longer than the new Iraqi government is willing to welcome us. And if they're asking us to speed things along, I think we better start speeding things along. But, really, this is a positive development. It shows that the Iraqi government is confident in their ability to govern their country without the help of a significant number of American troops.
The next six months will tell if a spring withdrawal is realistic. But it's reassuring to know Iraqi and U.S. leaders are planning for the exit phase.