Sunday, July 22, 2007

Report: General Mixon seeks to transfer troops from northern Iraq

Above: Soldiers search a car repair shop for signs of bomb-making in Mosul in April.

In a move that could portend a strategy change, the commander of U.S. forces in northern Iraq said Sunday he has proposed reducing his troop levels and shifting next year to missions focused less on direct combat.

Army Maj. Gen. Benjamin Mixon told The Associated Press that if current trends hold, he would like to begin this troop reduction and change in mission in Ninevah province, where he said Iraqi army forces already are operating nearly independently. He has proposed shifting the province to Iraqi government control as early as August.

Ninevah's capital is Mosul, the country's third largest city.

If put in place, Mixon's approach would not necessarily mean an overall reduction in U.S. troops early next year. It could mean shifting several thousand troops from Mixon's area to other parts of Iraq for some months.

Read the rest at the Washington Post