Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Report: Gates seeks deal for 'long-term presence' in exchange for troop drawdown by 2009

Above: Soldiers on their fourth day of 'Operation Arrowhead Ripper' in Baqubah wait to refuel their Stryker vehicles in front of building damaged in the fighting on June 22.

WASHINGTON (AFP) - US Defense Secretary Robert Gates is seeking a political deal in Washington to trade off troop cuts in Iraq for support for a long-term, smaller presence there.

Citing unnamed US government officials, the Wall Street Journal said Tuesday that Gates and some political allies are pursuing political support for maintaining a US military presence in Iraq to continue the fight against Al-Qaeda.

The tradeoff, according to the report, is a commitment to slashing back troop levels -- now about 155,000 -- by the end of President George W. Bush's term in office, in January 2009...

In Gates's plan, the US would trim back its presence and its goals to fighting Al-Qaeda and simply containing a civil war that might erupt, rather than the current aim of defeating all insurgents and ending the conflict between Iraqi groups, mostly aligned on Sunni and Shiite Muslim lines.

Read the rest at Yahoo News

Related Link:
Snow: Bush envisions U.S. troop presence in Iraq for decades