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May 5th, 2009

Iraq Insists on U.S. Leaving Cities by End of June

Some fear loss of control of Mosul after American forces pull out

Image: A boy inspects a bombed car
A boy inspects the aftermath of a car bombing in Baghdad on Monday, May 4, 2009. (Photo credit: Hadi Mizban / AP)

May 4, 2009

BAGHDAD — Iraq’s government Monday ruled out allowing U.S. combat troops to remain in Iraqi cities after the June 30 deadline for their withdrawal, despite concern that Iraqi forces cannot cope with the security challenge following a recent resurgence of bombings.

Asking U.S. forces to stay in the cities, including volatile Mosul in the north, would be embarrassing for Iraq’s prime minister, who has staked his political future on claims that the country has turned the corner in the war against Sunni and Shiite extremists.

The departure of heavily armed combat troops from bases inside the cities is important psychologically to many Iraqis, who are eager to regain control of their country after six years of war and U.S. military occupation. …

Fear that Iraqis will lose control

Privately, some U.S. officers fear the Iraqis may lose control of Mosul within a few months after American forces pull out of Iraq’s third largest city, where al-Qaida and other Sunni militants remain active.

The U.S.-Iraq security agreement that took effect this year calls for American combat troops to leave urban areas by the end of June, with all U.S. forces out of the country by the end of 2011.

But a series of high-profile bombings has raised questions whether Iraqi forces can assume more security responsibilities, especially in Mosul.


Nationwide, at least 451 people were killed in political violence last month, compared with 335 in March, 288 in February and 242 in January, according to an Associated Press tally.

Even in Baghdad, where violence is down sharply from levels of two years ago, attacks are continuing.

On Monday, two car bombs exploded almost simultaneously near the Oil Ministry and a police academy, killing at least three people and wounding eight.

Although those casualties were relatively low, the attack was significant because it occurred in a sensitive, well-guarded area in the heart of the Iraqi capital. …

The new governor of the Mosul area told the AP on Monday that the departure of U.S. troops from the city will actually reduce violence, since much of it is directed at the Americans. …

U.S. combat troops largely pulled out of many cities in 2005 and 2006 but returned a year later as part of the U.S. troop surge that was designed to protect civilians from Shiite and Sunni extremists living in their neighborhoods.

U.S. officials believe security in Iraq remains fragile because the various religious and ethnic groups have still not agreed on power-sharing arrangements necessary for long-term stability.


Related reports

Iraq says more than 30 militants killed in new strike

Iraqi army kills U.S.-allied Sunni militiaman


Security Developments in Iraq

Following are security developments in Iraq on Monday, May 4, 2009 as reported by Reuters.

KHALDIYA – Police said gunmen wounded a local official with the Sunni Arab Islamic Party in the town of Khaldiya, 50 miles west of Baghdad, as he was leaving a mosque after morning prayers.

RAMADI – Clashes between gunmen and Iraqi soldiers guarding a checkpoint killed one soldier and one suspected insurgent west of Ramadi, 60 miles west of Baghdad, police said. Two soldiers and one suspected insurgent were wounded.

BAGHDAD – A pair of bombs planted on vehicles exploded in a parking lot next to the Iraqi Oil Ministry in central Baghdad, killing four person and wounded seven others, police said.

MOSUL – Gunmen killed a policeman in central Mosul, 240 miles north of Baghdad, police said.

MOSUL – A roadside bomb targeting an Iraqi police patrol wounded a traffic policeman in central Mosul, police said.

Following are security developments in Iraq on Sunday, May 3, 2009 as reported by Reuters.

KIRKUK – A roadside bomb targeting an Iraqi police patrol wounded two policemen in central Kirkuk, 155 miles north of Baghdad, police said.

MOSUL – A suicide car bomber targeting an Iraqi Army patrol wounded three civilians and one traffic policeman in central Mosul, 240 miles north of Baghdad, police said. No soldiers in the patrol were hurt.



Image: Two U.S. soldiers on patrol in Afghanistan
U.S. soldiers exchange information as Afghan National Army soldiers stand beside them during a search for weapons caches in the Alaugal valley in Nishagam, in Afghanistan’s eastern Kunar province, April 10, 2009. (Photo credit: Liu Jin / AFP — Getty Images file)

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2 Responses to “Iraq Wants U.S. Out of Cities”
  1. Immelman for Congress » Blog Archive » Pro-Iran Pact Emerges in Iraq Says:

    […] Iraq Wants U.S. Out of Cities […]

  2. Immelman for Congress » Blog Archive » Al-Qaida Strikes Back in Iraq Says:

    […] Iraq Wants U.S. Out of Cities […]

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