Congress has urged the White House to consider a plan to maintain 10,000
troops in Iraq to continue training programs as well as serve as a rapid
response force to internal or external threat, Middle East Newsline reported. But officials said the
government of Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Al Maliki has signaled that Baghdad
would not make such a formal request despite the increasing threat from
"We have grave concerns about what Iran has been doing in terms of
supplying weaponry and trying to stir up violence in Iraq — trying to
exploit the current situation," Ms. Nuland said on July 6.
"That said, we have a lot of confidence in Iraqi security forces and in
their ability to maintain security in Iraq."
Officials said the U.S. military would retain some advisers in Iraq
after the withdrawal. But they said Iraq was expected to take full control
over all aspects of military and police training in 2012.
"From our perspective, we continue to work with them on the full range
of issues, including the security situation and the security situation as we
head towards the end of the year and the withdrawal of the remainder of
forces," Ms. Nuland said.
Officials said the U.S. military was pressing the administration to
press for the end of Iranian weapons smuggling to Iraq. On July 7, Joint
Chiefs of Staff chairman, Adm. Michael Mullen, said Washington could not
ignore Iran's insurgency campaign, particularly in southern Iraq, against
U.S. troops. As he was speaking, two U.S. soldiers were killed by an
Iranian-designed bomb outside a base in Baghdad.
"Iran is very directly supporting extremist Shia groups which are
killing our troops," Mullen told a briefing. "And there's no reason for me
to believe that they're going to stop that as our numbers come down. There's
no question they want to influence, and particularly in the south. They are
shipping high-tech weapons in there."