Subscribe to our free daily newsletters
. Military Space News .

Subscribe to our free daily newsletters

US Commander Says Iraq Force Must Not Be Reduced

US General John Abizaid. Photo courtesy of AFP.
by Staff Writers
Washington (AFP) Nov 15, 2006
The US military commander for the Middle East said Wednesday that American troops levels in Iraq should not be reduced as he faced a barrage of intense and often hostile questioning in Congress. General John Abizaid said that extra troops were also not the answer to the Iraq crisis, though he warned the country could slump into a full blown civil war within four-to-six months if escalating violence was not ended.

The United States currently has 144,000 troops in Iraq but faces mounting domestic pressure, particularly from the Democrats who control Congress, to start a withdrawal.

"Under current circumstances, I would not recommend troop withdrawals," Abizaid told lawmakers.

But he added: "I do not believe that more American troops right now is the solution to the problem."

The head of Central Command, which takes in the Middle East and Afghanistan, insisted in testimony to a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on US policy in Iraq that Iraqi security forces needed to take over security responsibilities more quickly.

He said he had told Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki during a meeting on Monday that Shiite militias must be disbanded "very soon."

Abizaid told the committee that US and Iraqi forces have four to six months to get the levels of sectarian violence down before it tips into civil war.

"I remain optimistic we can stabilize Iraq," Abizaid said in his opening statement to the panel.

But he faced hostile questioning from Democrats and even some Republicans, whose election hammering last week has been widely blamed on the Iraq crisis.

"I regret deeply that you seem to think that the staus quo and the rate of progress we're making is acceptable. I think most Americans do not," said Senator John McCain, a Vietnam veteran expected to run for the Republican nomination for the presidency in 2008.

Abizaid warned that failure to quell the violence could embolden Iran and Al-Qaeda and deepen Sunni-Shiite divisions in the region.

Levels of sectarian violence in Iraq, though down from last month, were still "dangerously high," he said.

Abizaid said US commanders believe that Iraqi security forces could take control faster if the United States beefed up training teams embedded with the Iraqis, speeded up the delivery of equipment to make them more mobile, and embraced an Iraqi-led effort to root out militias.

"Iraqis and Americans alike believe that Iraq can stabilize and the key to stabilization is effective, loyal, non-sectarian Iraqi security forces coupled with an effective government of national unity," he said.

His testimony came as President George W. Bush faces mounting pressure for a major change in his Iraq policy.

A bipartisan Iraq Study Panel is to make policy recommendations in a report expected to be released soon.

Bush has also launched an internal review of US policy in Iraq, national security advisor Stephen Hadley said Wednesday.

He said a review by the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the State Department, and the National Security Council (NSC) had been underway "fairly discretely" for weeks.

Hadley added that Bush met with his top national security advisors on Tuesday and ordered the internal review process be integrated in a single report by the NSC.

Source: Agence France-Presse

Related Links
Iraq: The first techonology war of the 21st century

Iraq Partition Called Wholly Unacceptable But Formal Policy Review Underway
Washington (AFP) Nov 15, 2006
Partition of Iraq along sectarian lines is "wholly unacceptable" to the United States, a senior State Department official said Wednesday, warning of the high cost in human suffering. "Partition in Iraq could only be achieved at an expense of human suffering and bloodshed and forced dislocation that would be both profound and wholly unacceptable, I believe, to the American people," said Ambassador David Satterfield, the State Department's coordinator of Iraq policy.

  • US Commander Meets Chinese Officials Ahead Of Military Drill
  • Use Of Force Dominating International Relations Says Putin
  • Russian US Relations Will Continue Deteriorating
  • Bush Says China Saving Too Much Money

  • US Would Hit Iran Says Israel As Ahmadinejad Says Iran Will Resist To End
  • US Envoy Says Progress On Date For North Korea Talks
  • For US, Differences Over Iran Amount To Diplomatic Cuisine
  • China Urges Japan To Be 'Responsible' On Nuclear Arms

  • LM Compact Kinetic Energy Missile Tested Against Armor Target
  • Lean Principles Contribute To Missile Success
  • LM Compact Kinetic Energy Missile Flight Test Against Armor Target
  • Moscow Sends Missiles To Belarus After Warsaw Gets US Warplanes

  • The Democrat Approach To BMD
  • US Ballistic Missile Defense Spending May Double
  • ATK To Build SRMD Motor For Short Range Interceptor
  • Raytheon Selects ATK For Stunner Interceptor Booster Motor Development

  • Technologies Evaluated For The Future National Airspace System
  • Silent Aircraft Readies For Take-Off
  • Global Aviation Industry Gathers For Key Chinese Air Show
  • China Marks 50th Anniversary Of Aerospace Industry

  • World's Operators Of The Northrop Grumman E-2 Hawkeye Gather For Annual Conference
  • Westar to Provide Software Engineering, Technical Support Services to Army's UAS Program
  • Cubic Receives Subcontract To Develop Data Link Rq-7B Shadow 200 Tactical UAS
  • Predators Keep Insurgents In View

  • Gates Will Change US Strategy
  • The Last War For Oil
  • US Commander Says Iraq Force Must Not Be Reduced
  • Iraq Partition Called Wholly Unacceptable But Formal Policy Review Underway

  • Air Force Declassifies Elite Aggressor Program
  • Raytheon Awarded $113 Million Contract For U-2 Systems Field Support
  • Air Force Selects Developer For Combat Search And Rescue Replacement Vehicle
  • Teledyne Awarded Army Contract For Third Generation Infrared Imaging Sensors

  • The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2006 - SpaceDaily.AFP and UPI Wire Stories are copyright Agence France-Presse and United Press International. ESA PortalReports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additionalcopyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by SpaceDaily on any Web page published or hosted by SpaceDaily. Privacy Statement