Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Top U.S. Officials Say Iraq Has Agreed to Timetable of Measures to Curb Violence

America's top officials in Iraq said yesterday (October 24th) that the Iraqi government has agreed to a timetable of measures over the next year to curb the violence in that country and allow U.S. troops to come home. U.S. ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad and General George Casey, who commands the 140,000 American troops in Iraq, spoke in a rare joint news conference from Iraq just two weeks before the U.S. midterm elections.

Khalilzad said he expected Iraq leaders to make, quote, "significant progress in the coming 12 months" in meeting the benchmarks, and Casey forecast that Iraqis would be able to handle most tasks in 12 to 18 months, with some U.S. support. Casey said he planned tactical changes -- which he didn't specify -- to curb the sectarian violence, and also said he'd ask for additional U.S. troops if necessary, but stressed that this was only one option. No deadline was mentioned, nor did either Khalilzad or Casey say what the U.S. response would be the Iraqi government failed to meet the benchmarks and rein in the violence.

Casey and Khalilzad also charged that the enemies in Iraq included Iran and the Syrian leadership, condemning what they described as, quote, "decidedly unhelpful" and "cynical" policies being pursued by the two countries, which neighbor Iraq.

After telling us for months that a timetable was/is a bad idea and that they wouldn't establish one, they do! There appears to be no consequences for not meeting the deadline.

How much confidence do you have that the Iraqi government will be able to meet the
benchmarks in the timetable they have agreed to?

Do you believe Iraqis will be able to handle most tasks in 12 to 18 months, as Casey said?

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