June 28th, 2009
02:38 PM ET
13 years ago

Iraqi troops ready to secure major cities, top Army general says

(CNN) - Despite some high-profile bombings in recent days, Iraq's security forces are ready to take over for U.S. forces this week to stabilize the nation's major cities, the U.S. commander in Iraq told CNN on Sunday.

Army Gen. Ray Odierno said he's seen a "constant improvement" in both the security situation and governance in Iraq to prepare for the June 30 deadline for U.S. troops to withdraw from major cities.

"They've been working for this for a long time," Odierno said on CNN's "State of the Union."

In a separate interview on "Fox News Sunday," Odierno said all U.S. troops already were out of Iraq's major cities before Tuesday's deadline.

"We have already moved out of the cities," Odierno said. "We've been slowly doing it over the last eight months. And the final units have moved out of the cities over the last several weeks."

The shift is part of the security agreement that former President George W. Bush's administration signed with Iraq.

In the CNN interview, Odierno blamed the recent violence in Iraq on "extremist elements using the timeframe and date to gain attention to themselves and divert attention from the success of Iraqi security forces."

The 131,000 U.S. troops in Iraq still will "maintain full coordination with Iraqi forces inside the cities" and continue to have intelligence capacity, Odierno said. With approval from the Iraqis, they also will carry out operations in major cities as necessary, he said.

Odierno said his goal is to help provide security that allows Iraq to hold planned national elections leading to the eventual removal of all U.S. troops by the end of 2011.

He said his biggest worry is a breakdown in stability such as a "consistent increase in violence" or a situation that Iraqi forces can't handle.

"I don't see that" happening, Odierno said. "I think we're on the right path."

Odierno also said Iran continues to "interfere" in Iraq, including training insurgents and paying surrogates. But he said his mission is limited to providing security within Iraq, no matter the provocation from Iran or elsewhere.

"I'm not authorized to do anything outside the borders of Iraq," he said.

Iran's government has repeatedly denied fomenting violence inside Iraq.

Updated: 2:38 p.m.

Filed under: Iran • Iraq • State of the Union
soundoff (54 Responses)
  1. Steve J, Michigan

    Iran has been interfering in Irag since day one, I'd also include Afgan. and Pakistan. I'm not sure what the solution is we sure don't need another war.. Maybe if all the other countries could for once unite Iran and NK could be forced to stop thier constant threats to other countries..


    June 28, 2009 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  2. Brad, California

    Let them interfere, but stay out of Iran. Leave it to Israel to nuke Iran and finally put an end to the Middle East. Turn the sand oil fields into a glass ashtray. We would be forced to eliminate our foreign oil dependence and we could concentrate on building our own country and placing Americans first. Clinton was dumb to try to buy North Korea off, Bush was even dumber to continue paying. And Bush committed the ultimate act of stupidity by not nuking North Korea when they tested their first weapon. If Bush would have had the common sense to set the example and do North Korea then, Iran and its nuclear ambitions would not even be an issue today.

    June 28, 2009 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  3. Michael

    Oh, ok I get it.... only the US can interfere in foreign countries. Hypocrisy has been part of our history... so why should we stop being hypocritical now. Shame on Iran.... Iraq is ours to do as we please!!! Just imagine If Iran had invaded Canada and killed hundreds of thousands of Canadians. What would the US do? Would they close their eyes and not defend their interests?

    The problem with Americans is that we don't read about US History and don’t care about other countries. Therefore we never question the information we're given by our Corporate Media. I fear that our nation is headed for a very dark future.

    June 28, 2009 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  4. joseph

    the absurdity of the invading/occupying force from the other side of the planet charging Iraq's neighbor with interference would be lol-hilarious if it wasn't somehow taken seriously.

    someone said the bully finally needs to get punched in the mouth, suggesting Iran was the bully in their comments. they were right about one thing – the bully really does need to get punched in the mouth, and will. they were just wrong about who the real bully is.

    June 28, 2009 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  5. Zero.

    Bringing Tony Blair on CNN. Putting words in his mouth to praise Obama won't prove anything. Obama will still have to deal with it Himself.. And he can't. Because he also is an Arab...

    June 28, 2009 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  6. Gordon

    To: Letcommonsenseprevail...again.

    What you mean is.......highly respected general under whom I served.


    ....fact that you can't spell shows your intelligence.

    Just a couple for YOUR info.

    June 28, 2009 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  7. jt

    John King must be getting a second paycheck from the GOP.

    June 28, 2009 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  8. Jay

    Everyone loves to bad mouth America at the same time they take advantage of all the freedoms it provides. Who's the hypocrite? If you don't like the way we do things here then pack your stuff and move to Iran.

    June 28, 2009 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  9. AZBill

    Now I understand why stupid people watch CNN. Gosh, can't you people structure a sentence, not to mention all the typo's.
    The hawk, (Letcommonsenseprevail) can at least spell even though his belicose policies have and will continue to fail. In the first place, it is our worldwide interventions, including Iran, (remember the Shah take- over of a democratic government by the CIA ) that has made Iran the wacko state it is today.
    We should criticize the theocracy screwballs around the world.
    But, we need to be vigilant with regards to our own religious ideologues here in the U.S., who would mirror their Islamic brothers, and would jump at a chance to control us with their Christian/Judaism beliefs and taboos. Remember, our last President said he took his advise and direction not from his father, but from his Heavenly Father. Wow.....

    June 28, 2009 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  10. Michael

    Jay, I've heard that line so many times. You are insinuating that if Americans don't defend their country in any situation (even the most drastically stupid decisions) they are basically traitors and should just leave.

    1. Do you really think you live in the freest nation in the World? You don't.

    2. The US founders were the biggest critics of the British empire while many Americans at the time called them traitors for criticizing the British. They wanted freedom from the big bully of the time. Se any similarities with the US and Iraq? Our founders would have been devastated if they saw what the US had become.

    3. Please read Noam Chomsky's book – Hegemony or Survival and Howard Zinn's Peoples History of the United States of America.... then we will talk rationally about what it means to be patriotic.

    June 28, 2009 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  11. Leslie DaSilva

    The views here are so fantastic that absurd isn't even appropriate. Iran's continuing interest in the situation on its border is "interference," but our reaching 8000 miles across the world is "normal." This country is light years away from a rational foreign policy that's in harmony with the rest of the planet. And these views are shared by every mainsttream politician in Washington and most of our citizens. Apparently, wearing a white hat limits the capacity of ones brain to fuction.

    June 28, 2009 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  12. didi

    learn, Muslim nations do not tolerate....they help with each other....not interfering....religious fantasy....

    June 28, 2009 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  13. Michael

    Brad.... nuke North Korea?!?!!?!? So we have thousadns of nukes and they have .... what 10 at most?!? So we should kill hundres of thousands of North Koreans, just like we killed the Japanese during World War II?

    June 28, 2009 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  14. Andrew

    I love how some of the truly moronic posters try to compare what the US is doing in Iraq to what Iran is doing in Iraq. I love even more how they are US citizens who love to flame their native country, forgetting the fact that if the US was really as big, bad, and evil as they say, they wouldn't be able to say such things. Idiots.

    June 28, 2009 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  15. patriot

    every one of you sounds like a trator iran is secretlly paying for these things and we must be the heavy wieght that has the balls to interfear with radicalized goverments they will come her for you and do you really think that we hit first in 1979 look deeper into covert iranian action in that time .directed at the the biggest super power of the era
    your beloved history books 99.9 percent is fabrication no oneder they dont tell american citecens or any citecens the truth you cant handle the real dark covert truth yes america is some dam bullies but id never defect talk trash or burn the flag of this awsome country for no reason not .even murder by the trilllions

    June 28, 2009 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  16. Bill Jones

    The insolence of this moron in the government issue clown suit complaining about "intefering in Iraq" is stunning.

    June 28, 2009 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  17. amy

    John King is the satellite host for Fox News.

    June 28, 2009 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  18. ib

    Of course; why would anyone be afraid of our weak president just look at what North Korea is doing with him; making him look weak and like an idiot.

    June 28, 2009 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  19. demon slayer

    Obama is an idiot just like the rest of those demons in government. They don't care about anyone or anything except for their demonic masters. Just as these demons have spilled the blood of the innocent, so shall their foul blood be spilled upon this Earth.

    June 28, 2009 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  20. Freedom of Speech

    Iraq is no where ready to take back it's country. THIS GENERAL IS ONLY SAYING WHAT OBAMA HAS TOLD HIM TO SAY. We as soldiers never finishing nothing at the cost of maiming our brethern and our comrades dying. IS IT AGAIN ALL FOR NOTHING. WHAT THE HELL AM I DOING IN THIS MAN'S ARMY. First Korea, second Viet Nam then Solmalya. Now it is Iraq. What's next? Will we run from Afghanistan with our tail between our legs. WAIKE UP AMERICA. The Hippie generation is overwith. Oney now we must suffer through your children running our goverment. PLEASE DEAR JESUS HELP THIS UN CHRISTIAN COUNTRY.

    June 28, 2009 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  21. JayG

    BRAD: U are an idiot, your own Obama is sitting there doing nothing about N.Korea and yet its still Bush'es fault?? When does this presidency become Obama's?

    June 28, 2009 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  22. judasgoat

    thanks for black listing my comments............ word press and cnn the truth hurts . hooray for first amendment rights. oh and for you jokers who say i should pack up and leave the US if iam not satisfied , look joker my ancestors [slaves] paided for my passage to this country you right wing JERK. and i don't have to go no where devil.

    June 28, 2009 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  23. Larry


    The Republicans love war because people get stinking wealthy on them.

    There was no reason to attack Iraq, other than that. To get Bush's buddies wealthy.

    Bush needs to be tried for crimes against humanity.

    June 28, 2009 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  24. D. Tree

    The Troops have done their job, its time to bring them home!

    Let the politicians step in and do their part now.

    June 28, 2009 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  25. renea

    On the Iran issue President Obama said he was not going to interfere in their election but no some of the Republicans wanted him to do it anyway for their political gain now we see why President Obama didnt want to get involved in this I hope the Republicans that wanted this are happy now.

    June 28, 2009 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
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