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    End of an Era

    Iraq Not Ready for Withdrawal

    Khalid Mohammed / AP Photo

    The U.S. is “on track” to end all combat operations by the end of the month in Iraq, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said, after Iraq’s top military commander Lt. Gen. Babakir Zebari said that country’s army won’t be trained and ready to take over security for another decade. Just 50,000 troops will remain in Iraq after this month to provide more training and support Iraq’s government; they will leave by 2011. But as the withdrawal deadline has neared, violence in Iraq has sharply risen. Lt. Gen. Zebari said in a press conference that the American pull out is going well because the Americans are still there. "But the problem will start after 2011—the politicians must find other ways to fill the void after 2011,” Zabari said. “If I were asked about the withdrawal, I would say to politicians: the U.S. army must stay until the Iraqi army is fully ready in 2020."