Skip to comments.Gates: Some US troops may stay if Iraq wants
Posted on 04/07/2011 3:35:16 AM PDT by tobyhill
The Obama administration would keep U.S. troops in Iraq beyond the agreed final withdrawal date of Dec. 31, 2011, if the Iraqi government wanted them, but the Iraqis need to decide "pretty quickly" in order for the Pentagon to accommodate the extension, Defense Secretary Robert Gates said Thursday during what he said probably is his final visit to this war-torn country.
Whether to negotiate an extended U.S. military presence is up to the Iraqis, he said, adding that he thought an extension might make sense.
"We are willing to have a presence beyond (2011), but we've got a lot of commitments," he said, not only in Afghanistan and Libya but also in Japan, where he said 19 U.S. Navy ships and about 18,000 U.S. military personnel are assisting in earthquake, tsunami and nuclear reactor relief efforts.
"So if folks here are going to want us to have a presence, we're going to need to get on with it pretty quickly in terms of our planning," he added. "I think there is interest in having a continuing presence. The politics are such that we'll just have to wait and see because the initiative ultimately has to come from the Iraqis."
The U.S. now has about 47,000 troops in Iraq, and they will begin leaving in large numbers in late summer or early fall. The U.S. led an invasion in March 2003 that toppled the government of President Saddam Hussein a month later, but an insurgency soon set in and the U.S. got mired in a conflict that has lasted far longer and cost far more American and Iraqi lives than Washington had anticipated.
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Did he say we have commitments in Libya?
Gen. Gates bowing to Muslims in Azerbaijan.
Are we going to bill them for our services?
Maliki has already made it known that he doesn't want US troops in Iraq.
I think this is a good sign. The Iraqi government still needs us there. I can see us keeping a small force of 20 - 30 thousand there. We are paired down to 50 thousand right now. Our troops are not in a lot of danger presently and can serve for training, some security and a rapid reaction force in case they are needed. If we left and the country fell into chaos, that would be truly tragic and a slap in the face to all of those who have sacrificed for this cause.
People should ask themself this. How long did we stay in Germany and Japan after WWII? Oh yeah, we still have a large contingent of forces in and around Japan and we probably have more forces in Germany than Iraq currently. You want to pull troops back? We should not have much troop strength in a place like Germany. What purpose do they serve? If they are a rapid reaction force, where are they a rapid reaction force to? We and our European Allies are no longer in immediate danger from Russia or any of the former Soviet Union.
Your numbers are about right for the next 5 years.
And about 10,000 up to 2020 to provide air defense/training.
Until the PM issued his gag-order last year,
The ISF leadership was consistent in describing the plan:
Phase 1 [2006-2010] Tactical independence.
This is internal security only.
Phase 2 [2011-2015] Operational independence.
This is handing internal security to police primacy while shifting the IMoD services [IA/IQAF/IQN/IQM] to external defense and overwatch of the MoI [IP/FP/OP/DBE/FPS].
Phase 3 [2016-2020] Strategic independence.
This is the ISF standing on its own. The long pole in this is air defense. Iraqs only air defense now is the USAF. They have yet to buy their first jet trainer let alone fighters
This is what the uniformed ISF leadership based its plans on. The 2012 date was pure politics ignoring military requirements...
New F16s from the US and/or used Mirage 2000s from France for fighters. The negotiations with China fell thru. The initial downpayment for 18 F16s was redirected to welfare when the protests started.
Looking like used L159s from Czech for trainers.