Actually there seems little sign of any rapid removal of troops from Iraq. There is not a peep about the referendum on the SOFA agreement that is supposed to be voted on in August. If the referendum does not pass then it will be interesting to see what happens. The demand might very well be for the troops to be withdrawn immediately. Biden claimed that troops might be withdrawn if sectarian violence increased. Hmm...so troops will be withdrawn if there is more violence or if there is less violence as Gates promises. One can be sure given the size of the huge Baghdad embassy that a U.S. military presence in some form will be ongoing no matter what the recent rhetoric may be. The U.S. has made sure that Iraq has no functioning air force so the U.S. can probably control the skies for some time to come.
News From Antiwar.com - http://news.antiwar.com/2009/07/29/gates-us-may-speed-pullout-if-iraq-leaders-curb-feuds/print/ -
Gates: US May Speed Pullout if Iraq Leaders Curb Feuds
Posted By Jason Ditz On July 29, 2009 @ 5:49 pm
Secretary of Defense Robert Gates said there was “at least some chance” that the US might speed up its withdrawal of troops this year if Iraqi and Kurdish leaders settle their differences. This might mean the US would remove another 3,000 to 4,000 of its 132,000 troops, a level which the Pentagon is currently planning to maintain through early 2010.
The comments were almost the exact opposite of those made by Vice Presdient Joe Biden during his Iraq visit earlier this month, when he suggested the US might speed its pullout if the nation reverted to the sectarian and ethnic violence that has wracked the nation since the 2003 US invasion.
There has been considerable dispute between the Iraqi national government and the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) in recent months, as the largely autonomous region attempts to annex neighboring parts of Iraq.
The national government has attempted to curb the region’s unilateral moves on its oil industry, amid fears that it will eventually attempt to secede from Iraq. The KRG Prime Minister has even warned of the prospect of open warfare between the Iraqi military and the KRG’s Peshmearga forces.