(CNN) – The top U.S. military commander in Iraq says the Middle Eastern country is on its way to being ready for next year's planned withdrawal of remaining U.S. troops, but Gen. Ray Odierno is also sounding a cautionary note about the intentions of one of its key neighbors.
In an interview set to air Sunday on CNN's "State of the Union," Odierno gives his assessment of the readiness of Iraqi security forces and of the Iraqi people overall.
"My assessment today is … they will be [ready for next year's withdrawal]," Odierno says in the interview. "I think that they continue to grow. We continue to see development in planning, in their ability to conduct operations. We continue to see political development, economic development and all of these combined together will start to create an atmosphere that creates better security.
"And the Iraqi people are resilient. They want this. They want to have a democratic country. They want to be on their own. They want to move forward and be a contributor to stability in the Middle East."
In the same sit-down, Odierno says that neighboring Iran may not want Iraq to move in that direction.
"I think they don't want to see Iraq turn into a strong democratic country," the general says. "They'd rather see it become a weak governmental institution. So they don't add more problems for Iran in the future."
Earlier this week, the 4,000-member 4th Stryker Brigade Combat Team departed Iraq in a move that many took to symbolize the end of U.S. combat operations in the country; the formal change in mission is set for September 1. After the 4th Stryker's departure, the U.S. military said the number of U.S. troops remaining in Iraq is about 52,000. That figure puts U.S. forces on track to draw down to 50,000 troops by September 1, when forces are to switch to an advise-and-assist role.
It is about time that Iraq be able to stand on its own two feet. I'm not sure what we can do about Iran, but we need to make sure that we can defend ourselves whatever they do.
If the outcome is good, Obama will take all the credit......If the outcome is bad.....it will all be W's fault.
I hope that Isreal hits the Iranian site because it is not clear to me that the Obama administration has the resolve to stop Iran. If Iran gets the nuke, then everyone will, including Lybia, Saudi Arabia, Burma, Sudan....it is time to drawl a line in the sand (literally!).
This is, in other words, going to be another Vietnam fiasco. Obama is just hell bent on stopping that effort against al quaeda in Iraq only because it was Bush who was there at the start. Obama has no care about the future of the middle East or for the thousands of soldiers who were killed and wounded so the US could stand up an ally in the middle East. ...another ally down the tubes because of the idiot Obama.
Just glad the president has gotten us out of one war. Hope we can end the other soon.
I think what they really want is American dollars and will stall as long as possible. We set the stage for their greed by paying top government officials millions.
Unfortunately Iraq's corrupt rulers don't want to form a government that doesn't enrich the ruling class.
Yeah, bring our servicemen home so they can get back to their jobs, supporting their families and living their lives....on second thought maybe for their families sake we should let them stay where there is a steady paycheck available!
Until the fight over who is Emon the the fight for the leader of the people will continue . God left them without a prophet when Abby died as lost sheep .
Sharia law is the division that drives the madness .
My resolve would be the meeting of all 3 Monifyism's to meet in the united Nations and argue the right of Emon was it Gods will or was it its Gods punishment . Ya Hussein your suffering grates my heart .