Under the revised U.S. plan, the Pentagon would deploy thousands of
troops in neighboring Kuwait. Officials said the military personnel in the
Gulf Cooperation Council sheikdom would be assigned to serve as a
rapid-response force to any emergency in Iraq.
The initial U.S. position called for 20,000 troops, about 8,000 of them
instructors, to remain in Iraq in 2011. Officials said Iraqi Prime Minister
Nouri Al Maliki rejected the U.S. plan and insisted that no more than 5,000
instructors and support troops remain in his country.
In September, Washington was said to have relayed a proposal for the
deployment of between 3,000 and 5,000 troops in Iraq starting from 2012.
Officials said thousands of additional troops would be based in Kuwait and
serve to rotate units every six months until 2015.
The U.S. military has already deployed tens of thousands of troops in
Kuwait, a major non-NATO ally of Washington. Kuwait has served as a hub for
U.S. military operations in both Afghanistan and Iraq.
U.S. Army chief of Staff Gen Ray Odierno said the training requirement
in Iraq would be adjusted as its military absorbs new platforms and
equipment. Odierno, the former commander in Iraq, said the larger the force
the more opposition it would engender.
"When I was leaving Iraq a year ago, I felt we had to be careful about
leaving too many people in Iraq," Odierno said.