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US to keep force levels in Iraq 'to win'

A US Tank casts a watchful eye in Iraq
by Staff Writers
Washington (AFP) May 25, 2006
US President George W. Bush on Thursday refused to set a timetable for the withdrawal of US troops from Iraq following the creation of its new government, saying "we will keep the force level there necessary to win".

Speaking after a summit with British Prime Minister Tony Blair, Bush reaffirmed his position that the 130,000 US troops in Iraq could start coming home once Iraqi forces can take charge of security duties.

Facing growing public concern over the duration of the Iraq war, the US leader said: "It's important for the American people to know that politics isn't going to make the decision as to the size of our force level."

Blair used the press conference after the White House meeting to call for international support for the new Iraqi government. The British prime minister visited Baghdad on Monday, two days after new Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki named his government.

Maliki has said it is possible for Iraqi forces to be ready to take over security duties by the end of 2007.

Blair told the press conference: "I think it's possible for the Iraqi security forces to take control, progressively, in the country."

"But when the prime minister talked about an objective timetable, what he meant was a timetable governed by conditions on the ground," Blair added.

"We will work with them now to see if we can put that framework together," the British leader declared. "They want us there in support, until they've got the capability, I believe that can happen."

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Brzezinski Wants Orderly Iraq Withdrawal
Washington (UPI) May 26, 2006
Zbigniew Brzezinski, national security adviser under U.S. President Jimmy Carter, laid out a four-step plan for the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq Thursday. Brzezinski advocated a fundamental shift in the American approach to Iran, and caution on the recent nuclear deal with India.

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