News / USA

Odierno Says US Withdrawal From Iraq on Track

The commander of U.S. forces in Iraq says the planned withdrawal of American troops is on schedule despite ongoing political uncertainty in Baghdad, and an increase in attacks by militants. General Ray Odierno talked about the situation on the ground during an interview broadcast Sunday on American television.

General Odierno says progress has been made in Iraq, but acknowledges much more must be done. He says political parties must sort out the results of recent elections and form a government, and Iraqi forces still require U.S. military training and support. But he says he remains confident that the timetable for a U.S. military withdrawal can and will be met.

Odierno told the Fox News Sunday television program there are about 95,000 American troops in Iraq. He said almost half will be pulled out during the coming months as U.S. combat operations draw to a close. "Our plans are intact. I feel very comfortable with our plan," he said. "And unless something unforeseen and disastrous happens, I fully expect us to be at 50,000 by the first of September."

The remaining troops will support the Iraqi military, and take part in counter-terrorism efforts, with a complete withdrawal planned by the end of 2011.

Odierno was asked about the impact of a series of recent terror attacks in Iraq. He said overall, violence is down and al-Qaida's capabilities have been downgraded. "They are still capable of conducting attacks against innocent civilians, but the Iraqis have rejected the ideology of al-Qaida," said General Odierno. "They are rejecting al-Qaida as a whole inside of Iraq."

There have been a number of militant bombings in and around Baghdad since the March 7 parliamentary elections in Iraq, raising doubts about the strength of Iraqi security forces. Odierno left no doubt he believes that with a little help, the Iraqis can handle the job. "The most important thing is the Iraqi security forces are now in the lead in going after al-Qaida and they are now developing their own capabilities to do this," he said. The commander of U.S. forces in Iraq also talked about the challenge coming from neighboring Iran.

He said Tehran remains a threat. "They provide training for those who continue to try to create instability in Iraq. They continue to try to increase their influence there," said General Odierno. "They are involved in attempting to influence the results of the election. They do not respect Iraq's sovereignty."

Odierno said the answer to the problem lies in building up the capability of Iraqi forces to protect their own country. He said Iraq wants good relationships with all its neighbors. But he said Iraqis are nationalists, and they will move to keep Iranian influence in check.

You May Like

As AIDS Epidemic Matures, Workplaces Adapt

Issue of AIDS in workplace is one of many social issues being discussed at the 20th International Aids Conference in Australia More

Is Air Travel Safe?

Aviation expert says despite tragic losses of Malaysian Airlines flights 370 and 17, industry experienced lowest fatality rate in recorded history last year More

100 Days Later, Nigerian Girls Still Held

Activists holding rallies in Nigeria and several other countries to mark 100th day of captivity for more than 200 schoolgirls being held by Boko Haram More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Formi
X
July 22, 2014 10:26 AM
Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Chicago’s Argonne Lab Developing Battery of the Future

In 2012, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science awarded a $120 million grant to a new technology center focused on battery development - headquartered at Argonne National Laboratory in suburban Chicago, Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there scientists are making the next technological breakthroughs in energy storage.
Video

Video In NW Pakistan, Army Offensive Causes Massive Number of Displaced

Pakistan’s army offensive in North Waziristan has resulted in the large-scale displacement of the local population. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from northwest Pakistan where authorities say around 80 percent of the estimated 1 million internally displaced persons [IDPs] have settled in Bannu district, while much of the remaining 20 percent are scattered in nearby cities.
Video

Video Kurdish Peshmerga Force Secures Kirkuk, Its Oil

The Kurdistan regional government has sent its Peshmerga troops into the adjacent province of Kirkuk to drive out insurgents, and to secure the area's rich oil fields. By doing this, the regional government has added a fourth province to the three it officially controls. The oil also provides revenue that could make an independent Kurdistan economically strong. VOA’s Jeffrey Young went out with the Peshmerga and filed this report.
Video

Video Malaysia Reeling: Second Air Disaster in Four Months

Malaysia is reeling from the second air disaster in four months involving the country’s flag carrier. Flight 340 vanished in March and despite an extensive search, no debris has been found. And on Thursday, Flight 17, likely hit by a surface-to-air missile, came apart over eastern Ukraine. The two incidents together have left more than 500 people dead. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Kuala Lumpur.

AppleAndroid