News / USA

Odierno Says US Withdrawal From Iraq on Track

TEXT SIZE - +

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

Photogallery Pope's Easter Prayer: Peace in Ukraine, Syria

Pontiff also calls for end to terrorist acts in Nigeria, violence in Iraq, and success in peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians More

Abdullah Holds Lead in Afghan Presidential Election

Country's Election Commission says that with half of the ballots counted, former FM remains in the lead with 44 percent of the vote More

Russia-Ukraine Crisis Could Trigger Cyber War

As tensions between Kyiv and Moscow escalate, so too has frequency of online attacks targeting government, news and financial sites 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.
Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politicsi
X
Michael Eckels
April 19, 2014
There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politics

There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Face of American Farmer is Changing

The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Donetsk Governor: Ukraine Military Assault 'Delicate But Necessary'

Around a dozen state buildings in eastern Ukraine remain in the hands of pro-Russian protesters who are demanding a referendum on self-rule. The governor of the whole Donetsk region is among those forced out by the protesters. He spoke to VOA's Henry Ridgwell from his temporary new office in Donetsk city.
Video

Video Drones May Soon Send Data From High Seas

Drones are usually associated with unmanned flying vehicles, but autonomous watercraft are also becoming useful tools for jobs ranging from scientific exploration to law enforcement to searching for a missing airliner in the Indian Ocean. VOA’s George Putic reports on sea-faring drones.
Video

Video New Earth-Size Planet Found

Not too big, not too small. Not too hot, not too cold. A newly discovered planet looks just right for life as we know it, according to an international group of astronomers. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Copts in Diaspora Worry About Future in Egypt

Around 10 percent of Egypt’s population belong to the Coptic faith, making them the largest Christian minority in the Middle East. But they have become targets of violence since the revolution three years ago. With elections scheduled for May and the struggle between the Egyptian military and Islamists continuing, many Copts abroad are deeply worried about the future of their ancient church. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky visited a Coptic church outside Washington DC.
Video

Video Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

During the two months of deadly anti-government protests that have rocked the oil-rich nation of Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro has accused the opposition of trying to initiate a coup. Though a small number of military officers have been arrested for allegedly plotting against the government, VOA’s Brian Padden reports the leadership of the armed forces continues to support the president, at least for now.
Video

Video More Millenials Unplug to Embrace Board Games

A big new trend in the U.S. toy industry has more consumers switching off their high-tech gadgets to play with classic toys, like board games. This is especially true among the so-called millenial generation - those born in the 1980's and 90's. Elizabeth Lee has more from an unusual café in Los Angeles, where the new trend is popular and business is booming.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
AppleAndroid