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 US Department of Defense has announced the transfer of four Yemeni detainees, and a Tunisian national, from Guantanamo Bay to Georgia and Slovakia.
Two separate statements by the US Department of Defense on Thursday said that Salah Mohammed Salih Al-Dhabi, Abdel Ghaib Ahmad Hakim, and Abdul Khaled Al-Baydani were transferred from the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay to the Government of Georgia, and Hashim Bin Ali Bin Amor Sliti and Husayn Salim Muhammad Al-Mutari Yafai were transferred from the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay to the Government of Slovakia.
The HEYA Yemen team in Participation for Community Foundation (PCF), along with their five local partners; (Awaam Foundation for Development, My Vision NGO, Shaher Foundation for Consultancy and Marketing, The Third Eye Foundation, Tanwaa Foundation) and the regional umbrella organization , Academy for International Development – Middle East and North Africa (AID-MENA), launched their first press conference at the Saba Hotel in Sanaa, Yemen.
Despite the deteriorating security situation in Yemen, the event was attended by community public figures, civil society organizations (CSOs) and more than 20 media bodies that included radio and television news channels, newspaper journalists and various online platforms to highlight the role of Yemini women during the democratic transition.
Guest speaker of the press conference, Mr. Amin Goman, the Capital Secretary Assistant reiterated HEYA’S intentions, claiming that “in order to achieve the outputs of the national dialogue, we have to work closely with all women alliances to increase the role of women in monitoring and formulating public policies and to take part of the decision making process in Yemen”
The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) on Monday valued highly the Japanese donation of US$5.3 million to support on-site school feeding up to the end of the current school year.
The donation was confirmed at a signing ceremony in Rome on 7 November.
"This is a new activity for WFP Yemen, which we have been able to launch entirely as a result of Japan's support," said WFP Yemen Deputy Country Director and Officer-in-Charge Rukia Yacoub. "With this latest donation, we can continue to provide snacks to children attending school right through the year."
"I believe this food aid will contribute directly to the alleviation of the impacts of food shortages as well as the improvement of people's nutritional status in this country," said Japanese ambassador to Yemen Katsuyoshi Hayashi.
Under this operation, WFP will provide a daily snack, consisting of a nutritious date bar, to some 295,000 primary and secondary schoolchildren regularly attending school, to encourage attendance and help them to concentrate during lessons.
The Standing Committee of the General People's Congress (GPC) held its special session chaired by Ali Abdullah Saleh, President of the GPC.
During the meeting they discussed the current developments on the national scene in Yemen and regulatory conditions of the GPC.
The Commission adopted its regulatory decisions of new appointments at senior organizational configurations of the Presidency GPC.
After discussions and proposals the members of the Committee approved the following names:
A Republican decree No. (140) for the year 2014 was issued on Friday naming the new government members as follows:
President of the Republic,
After perusal of the constitution of the Republic of Yemen,
Law No. (3) for the year 2004 on the Cabinet,
Decree of the President of the Republic No. (62) for the year 2014 to authorize Mr. Khaled Mahfoudh Bahah to form the government,
The Gulf Cooperation Council initiative and its implementation mechanism signed on 23/11/2011,
Peace and National Partnership Agreement signed on 21/9/2014, and
A proposal by Prime Minister, and for the supreme interest of the country.
It has been decided,
Article No. (1): The government is to be formed as to follow
Sessions of the Brussels Conference on Reconciliatory Justice in Yemen were concluded on Monday in the capital Brussels of Belgium.
The conference was participated by representatives of the Yemeni political parties and components, international organizations, and international experts specialized in solving disputes.
At the end of the conference, a statement was declared affirming the importance of working to immediately stop violent armed acts and to denounce the use of force to achieve political goals and interests.
The statement called for the condemnation of all forms of violence and continuation of dialogue to discover in depth details and determinants of the comprehensive national reconciliation in Yemen.
President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi reviewed on Saturday with UK ambassador to Yemen Jane Marriott the latest developments in the local arena.
During the meeting, Hadi highly praised the support of the UK for Yemen's security, stability and unity, stressing the importance of helping Yemen economically by the UK and Saudi Arabia to address the current challenges.