WASHINGTON (CNN) – Sen. Barack Obama, in an op-ed piece in Monday's New York Times, embraced Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki's recent call for a timetable for American troops to leave Iraq as "an enormous opportunity."
The presumptive Democratic presidential nominee's column, titled "My Plan for Iraq," repeated his pledge that "on my first day in office, I would give the military a new mission: ending this war."
Obama wrote that U.S. troops would be redeployed from Iraq to "focus on the broader security challenges that we face" and that "unlike Senator McCain, I would make it absolutely clear that we seek no presence in Iraq similar to our permanent bases in South Korea."
Ending the Iraq war is necessary so that the United States can focus on Afghanistan and Pakistan, "where the Taliban is resurgent and Al Qaeda has a safe haven," he wrote.
"Iraq is not the central front in the war on terrorism, and it never has been," he wrote.
"As Adm. Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, recently pointed out, we won't have sufficient resources to finish the job in Afghanistan until we reduce our commitment to Iraq," Obama wrote.
Al-Maliki, in a speech a week ago, said there should be a timetable to withdraw U.S. troops from Iraq in any agreement on future ties between Iraq and the United States.