Fri, August 27, 2010
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Iraqis mixed on US withdrawal

2010-08-27 03:34:49 GMT2010-08-27 11:34:49 (Beijing Time)

Following a series of attacks across Iraq that killed over 60 and wounded hundreds, Iraqis have mixed feelings about the withdrawal of U.S. troops.

Even to Iraqis hardened from seeing so much death and destruction in their country over the years, news of Wednesday's nationwide mayhem is deeply troubling.

Over 60 people were killed and hundreds wounded in coordinated attacks on Iraqi security forces.

The attacks come at a sensitive time, less than a week before the U.S. formally ends its combat operations in Iraq and five months after an inconclusive election left the country in political uncertainty.

Here in Baghdad, where at least two bomb attacks took place, one resident said the political vacuum was more problematic than the withdrawal of U.S. troops.

"Despite the drawdown of U.S. troops, we have confidence in Iraqi security forces to ensure security. We call on the government to speed up the formation of government and we believe that the blasts aim to hamper the formation of the government and abort the political process."

Elsewhere in Falluja, home to some of the fiercest battles of the Iraq war, there was a mixed reaction to the impending U.S. withdrawal, in light of the current security situation.

Some fear the void left by U.S. forces will be filled by Iran.

Assistant Professor of Islamic Law in Falluja City, Khaled Ahmed Al-Saleh.

"Iraq is not ready now. The Iraqi police and military forces are not ready and cannot defend themselves. They don't have the strength or the power. So when America withdraws now, most of the neighbouring countries are ready to take a piece of this cake, every country will take a piece..

Seven and a half years on from the beginning of the war, U.S. troops levels have been cut to under 50,000 down from a peak of around 170,000 three years ago.

Whether or not they want U.S. forces to go, Iraqis everywhere will be hoping the withdrawal does not spur more violence.

Simon Hanna, Reuters.


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