Almotamar.net, AP - BAGHDAD (AP) — Iraq's government welcomed reports Wednesday of a U.S. combat troop withdrawal next year and said Iraqi forces would be ready to take full responsibility for security.
Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki supports an accelerated pullout and Iraqi officials will work closely with American commanders under a possible timetable to remove U.S. soldiers from the battlefield by August 2010, said Sadiq al-Rikabi, one of al-Maliki's top advisers.
The comments come after reports that President Barack Obama was expected to order all U.S. combat troops to leave Iraq by August of next year. An announcement by Obama could come as early as this week, a senior White House official told The Associated Press on Tuesday.
Al-Rikabi said al-Maliki expressed "no worry" about U.S. forces moving out quicker than the standing agreement for a withdrawal by the end of 2011.
"The Iraqi troops are ready to take responsibility. There is nothing to worry about and the withdrawal will be carried out in coordination between the two sides," he said.
Obama's announcement will speed up the timeline of a U.S.-Iraqi security pact, which took effect Jan. 1, calling for American troops to withdraw from Iraq's cities by June 30 and completely pull out troops by the end of 2011.
For months, al-Maliki has publicly said he believes Iraq's security forces are prepared to stand on their own despite lingering questions about their readiness.
But the withdrawal of combat troops under Obama's plan would still have U.S. troops in Iraq well after parliamentary elections this year, which military officials have said is one of the next big security tests. There are more than 140,000 U.S. troops in Iraq.
Reaction among Iraqis was mixed.
"I have no trust with Iraqi security forces that they could keep security because army and security forces were built on a sectarian basis," sad Thabit Mohammed Jassim, a 40-year-old Sunni shop owner in Tikrit, Saddam Hussein's hometown.
Jassim said he believed violence would likely climb after American combat troops leave Iraq.
"Obama wants to withdraw not for Iraqis, but because of economic problems they face internally and of hardships his troops are facing in Iraq," he said.
But Hussein Jassim Mohammed, a 35-year-old Shiite from Baghdad, said he would like to see U.S. troops leave sooner rather than later.
"We hope the withdrawal will take place sooner, before the given timetable," he said, adding that it was "a good step for Iraqis to secure" their own country.
Mohammed said there were some who worried about an increase in violence, but said it was time for "security forces to live up to their responsibility."
But in Mosul, where U.S. and Iraqi forces continue to battle insurgents, Ziyad al-Sinjari, a 35-year-old Sunni, was less optimistic about the stability of the Iraqi security forces.
"The new Iraqi army lacks experts. It needs the expertise of former Iraqi military officers," said al-Sinjari, who works at Mosul University. "I hope the withdrawal will be soon, so militants have no pretext of launching attacks against Americans in cities and hurting (civilians)."
In Najaf, a Shiite shrine city in southern Iraq, Ibrahim Ihsan said he wants to see foreign forces leave Iraq.
"I have no doubts that Iraqi soldiers are qualified to shoulder the security responsibilities in the country," said the 55-year-old retiree.
The Saudi aggression war jets continued on Saturday afternoon their criminal bombing on the capital Sana'a.
The hostile warplanes launched three violent raids on al-Nahdain area in al-Sabeen district for the fourth time within 24 hours after bombing the same area three times at dawn today, a local official said .
The number of the displaced families from inside and outside Mareb province amounted to 7,700 families due to the Saudi aggression on Yemen.
The internally displaced families in the districts of the province reached 6,200 families distributed on the districts of Majzar, Madghal, Raghwan, Serwah, Mareb city, al-Wadi, Harib al-Qramish, Harib Bihan, Bidbeda and al-Joba, the coordinator of the relief and humanitarian organization in the province Abdulkhaleq al-Sharif explained .
He pointed out that the number of the families displaced from Mareb to the capial Sana’a amounted to about 1,500 families distributed on several areas, including al-Hatarish, Bani al-Harish district, Daress, Mathbah, Aser, Shumilah, al-Sabeen and the 50th Street.
Three citizens were killed and other wounded in Saudi airstrikes targeted their house in Bir Basha area in Taiz province, a local official said on Monday.
These airstrikes coincided with other raids launched by the aggression warplanes and targeted Mokha Port and the quarantine premises, causing destruction in the port and the quarantine, the official explained.
The Russian Foreign Ministry has described the Saudi-led coalition massacres in Yemen as horrific, calling for an immediate ceasefire and engaging in negations without preconditions.
The Russian Foreign Ministry’s spokeswoman Maria Zakharova told a news conference in Moscow that despite the positive signals made by the negotiations between the Yemeni opposing parties in Geneva last December, but the armed confrontation in this country are still continuing, especially after the Saudi-led coalition announced the end of the truce and resumed the military operations.
" In recent days the media circulated horrible news about the Saudi-led coalition bombing on a MSF-supported hospital in Sa’ada, which resulted in deaths and injuries," she added.
The army and popular committees managed on Tuesday to secure three sites in Taiz province, a local official said.
The army and popular committees carried out a military operation before Tuesday dawn ended up with regaining control over three sites in Addar junction between Nagd Qusaim and al-Misrakh in Taiz, the official added.
At least four people were killed on Sunday when a missile hit a hospital supported by Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) in Sa'ada province.
One projectile struck the Shiara Hospital in Razeh district at 9:20 a.m., according to MSF staff members on the ground. The MSF staff has been working in the hospital since November 2015.
"The hospital was hit by a projectile this morning, killing four people, wounding 10," In a statement issued by Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF),
Three of the injured are MSF staff members, two of whom are in critical condition, the medical humanitarian organization said. In addition, several buildings of the medical facility were collapsed.
"The number of casualties could rise as there could still be people trapped in the rubble." The organization said the staff has evacuated and patients are being transferred to Al Goumoury hospital in Sa'ada, which is also supported by MSF.
MSF cannot confirm the origin of the attack, but planes were seen flying over the facility at the time. At least one more projectile fell near the hospital.