Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Rice, Gates promise Arab leaders no 'precipitous' withdrawal from Iraq

Above: Soldiers from the 1st Cavalry Division climb a wall to search a house in the Amariyah area of Baghdad today.

Visiting U.S. Cabinet officers, hearing blunt concerns from nervous Arab leaders, assured them the U.S. will not abruptly withdraw troops from Iraq and trigger chaos that could spread across the Gulf region...

"There clearly is concern on the part of the Egyptians, and I think it probably represents concern elsewhere in the region, that the United States will somehow withdraw precipitously from Iraq, or in some way that is destabilizing to the entire region," Gates told reporters after he and Rice wrapped up meetings with Egypt's top leaders.

Gates, in fact, seemed to open the door a bit wider toward a more gradual pullout - something commanders in Iraq have been angling for of late - saying he is sensing greater openness on Capitol Hill to a more careful, deliberate withdrawal.

Rice said they told the allies that Bush's Iraq policies "have at their core an understanding of the fundamental importance of a stable Iraq to the stability of this region."

Read the rest at AOL News