Sunday, October 16, 2011

Report: U.S. To Pull All Troops From Iraq By End Of 2011

Senior Obama administration officials tell the Associated Press that the plan to keep 3,000 troops in Iraq past 2011, has now been abandoned and that all troops will be pulled out of Iraq by the end of the year.
Two officials tell Politico that no decision’s been made, two others — one a “senior administration official,” the other a “senior U.S. military official” — confirm to the AP that the plan has been abandoned.
Obama administration officials insist to Fox News that discussions with Iraqi leaders are “ongoing.”

The AP reported:
The U.S. is abandoning plans to keep U.S. troops in Iraq past a year-end withdrawal deadline, The Associated Press has learned. The decision to pull out fully by January will effectively end more than eight years of U.S. involvement in the Iraq war, despite ongoing concerns about its security forces and the potential for instability.

The decision ends months of hand-wringing by U.S. officials over whether to stick to a Dec. 31 withdrawal deadline that was set in 2008 or negotiate a new security agreement to ensure that gains made and more than 4,400 American military lives lost since March 2003 do not go to waste…

Throughout the discussions, Iraqi leaders have adamantly refused to give U.S. troops immunity from prosecution in Iraqi courts, and the Americans have refused to stay without it. Iraq’s leadership has been split on whether it wanted American forces to stay. Some argued the further training and U.S. help was vital, particularly to protect Iraq’s airspace and gather security intelligence. But others have deeply opposed any American troop presence, including Shiite militiamen who have threatened attacks on any American forces who remain.

Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has told U.S. military officials that he does not have the votes in parliament to provide immunity to the American trainers, the U.S. military official said.