Friday, June 26, 2009

US reneges on Iraq withdrawal promises

The United States retracts its initial promise of commitment to withdrawing its troops from Iraqi cities by the end of the month of June.

On Wednesday, a spokesman for the US military in Iraq, Brigadier General Steve Lanza, said a number of the country's troops are to remain in the urban areas after the June 30 deadline, Reuters reported.

Earlier, the US commander in Iraq, General Ray Odierno, had claimed that the military was 'absolutely committed' and had largely honored the US security agreement signed with Baghdad.

The security agreement envisages a withdrawal from the war-torn country.

Lanza cited "stability" concerns for maintaining some troop level in "Joint Security Stations" to train and advise Iraqi security forces.

The remaining contingents are to be 'extremely small", he claimed.

The US official added that "on 1 July we're not going to see this big black puff of smoke as everybody leaves the cities" based on the military's claim that it had managed to bring about a respite in al-Qaeda-linked attacks.

This is while Pentagon officials have been using "rises in violence" to prolong the US military presence in the oil-rich country.