Tension escalates in
WASHINGTON, Dec. 18 (Xinhua) -- The U.S. military has drafted an initial
plan to pull troops out of Iraq, which somehow differs from the promise of
President-elect Barack Obama on the issue, the Pentagon said Thursday.
Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell told reporters the military briefed Obama
and his national security team on the plan during a recent meeting.
The military's plan proposes removing all U.S. combat troops from Iraq's
urban areas in 2009, and all American troops from Iraq by 2011, in keeping with
the recent Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA), signed by the incumbent President
George W. Bush.
However, the plan will make the withdrawal at a slower pace than Obama
promised during the campaign, when he called for all combat troops to be out
within 16 months -- by the summer of 2010.
Officials said Obama might seek to speed up the troop withdrawal once he
Reuters reported that the United States has some 143,000 troops in Iraq.
The Associate Press put the number at around 150,000.