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...is an interesting concept. Once achieved, the US goal of handing control over to a stable Iraqi government with security provided by indigenous forces will allow many sides to claim "victory" - and every side will certainly declare the enemy defeated.
That point is still a bit further down the road, but this news from Iraq might have brought it a bit closer
BAGHDAD — Iraq's senior Shiite Muslim religious figure Thursday called on the country's controversial militias to disarm, marking one of the most overt forays into matters of politics and policy by the influential cleric.The LA Times story goes to great lengths to explain that some Sunnis are concerned that Sistani has too much influence, and that his call for disbanding militias and unification of Iraqis could be perceived as a threat. In spite of the Times efforts, it's difficult to see this as anything other than a positive development (though it's impact is obviously yet to be determined).
Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani, regarded as the moral voice of Iraq's Shiite majority, called for a government of technocrats rather than political loyalists or sectarian interests and said that only government forces should be permitted to carry weapons on the streets.
"Weapons must be in the hands of government security forces that should not be tied to political parties but to the nation," said the Iranian-born Sistani in a statement released by his office in Najaf after he met with the newly designated prime minister. "The first task for the government is fighting insecurity and putting an end to the terrorist acts that threaten innocents with death and kidnapping."
Meanwhile the Wall Street Journal (unavailable to non-subscribers) quotes a named Iraqi government source:
Iraqi Official Expects Start Of U.S. Exit, With A Big Pullout This YearProgress in Iraq this spring threatens to derail several budding political campaigns - those who've built their strategy on US failure will have a hard time finding other issues. But they may choose not to. Any US withdrawal will be done "under fire". As long as US troops are in country there will always be someone willing to launch a rocket into a FOB or park a car bomb along a convoy route. Like Saddam Hussein in 1991 the enemy will declare victory, and while most of us will have to live with that, others will celebrate, and it's very likely that those who follow John Murtha's strategy (ensure no US withdrawal can be called a US victory - in his own words "I worry about a slow withdrawal which makes it look like there's a victory") will still get substantial credibility from the media, a small junta of retired generals, and those politicians who've bet the farm on an insurgent victory over US troops.
BAGHDAD, Iraq -- A senior Iraqi official said there would be a substantial withdrawal of U.S. troops this year, with the rest leaving within the next two years.
Speaking to senior U.S., Iraqi and British security officials, Iraqi National Security Adviser Mowaffak Rubaie said the Iraqi government was working to formalize a "conditions-based transition agreement" with the U.S. that would govern the pace and scope of a U.S. military withdrawal from the country. Such an agreement would detail a timeline for turning U.S. military facilities over to the Iraqis and leaving Iraqi forces with primary security responsibility for growing portions of the country.
"Certainly at the end of the year there is going to be a sizable gross reduction in U.S. troops," Mr. Rubaie said as he stood beside Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. "At the end of next year, we will hope, or the next couple of years, we will hope that most of the coalition forces will go back home safely."
Mr. Rumsfeld declined to comment on the timing of a drawdown of the 132,000 U.S. troops, as did his aides. During his visit to Iraq, Mr. Rumsfeld has declined to address the possibility of a withdrawal, but other U.S. commanders have confirmed that one is likely to begin this year.
Yeah, you'll definitely want to wear boots for that.
The Democrats don't want to admit it, but we are winning the War on Terror. News like this always lifts my spirits.Posted by Shoelimpy™ at April 28, 2006 07:33 PM Hide Comments | Show/Add Comments in Popup Window(1) | (Note: You must refresh main page to view newly posted comments here)