U.S. army general talks about withdrawal from Iraq

On Friday, U.S. President Barack Obama announced that his country's plan to withdraw 39,000 soldiers from Iraq by the end of the year. The United States military played a major role in the 2003 invasion of Iraq and the subsequent war. In an interview with Majid Hameed of Al Arabiya, U.S. Major General Jeffrey S. Buchanan spoke of the phase following the troop's withdrawal and the impact this would have on Iraq's political scene and its relationship with the U.S. "Right now we have about 41,000 troops still on the country but we are on track to completely withdraw all those troops in accordance with our bilateral security agreement with Iraq by the end of the year," said Buchanan. "We signed this agreement in 2008 and we lived up to every one of our obligations and we are going to honor our commitment to the people of Iraq and the United States. "So complete re-deployment of equipments, transition of bases and transfer of personnel out of Iraq will take place by the end of the year," he said. "There have been discussions between the U.S. and Iraq about the potential request for further military assistance by the end of the year but we have no agreement today yet. So, all our bases are on track to transition. In fact ... we've already transitioned control of Mosul back to the Iraqi government." When asked about security concerns and if the United States plans to retain specialized anti-terror units in Iraq after the end of the year, Gen. Buchanan said, "There is no agreement for any security forces to remain in Iraq at this point in time. We will continue as we do with our friends in the region to share intelligence to the best of our ability, but we are not going have forces deployed here." He added, the Iraqi special operations forces have developed a very capable capacity to deal with terrorists. As of Oct 12, 2011 at least 4,477 members of the U.S.military had died in the Iraq war since it began in March 2003, according to an Associated Press count. By: Ikram AL Yacoub Al Arabiya with Agencies

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