by Xinhua Writers Wang Fengfeng, Ran Wei
WASHINGTON, Aug. 6 (Xinhua) -- With the United States scheduled to withdraw all its combat troops from Iraq by the end of this month amid political stalemate and rising violence in that country, worries are mounting in Washington and elsewhere about the situation in Iraq after the drawdown.
A leading U.S. security expert warned this week that although withdrawing combat troops might not spell doom, the Obama administration needs to carefully reconsider the next phase of Iraq drawdown.
"We have to see if a new Iraqi government might want to renegotiate the pace of the final U.S. withdrawal, and extend it over a longer period of time in a more gradual speed," Michael O'Hanlon, director of research of foreign policy at the Washington-based Brookings Institution, told Xinhua in an interview this week. ' Cautioning that the next phase of the U.S. drawdown, in which all U.S. troops are scheduled to leave Iraq by the end of 2011, may be "too abrupt," O'Hanlon urged the U.S. and Iraqi sides to reconsider
O'Hanlon said he is not worried about the current phase of withdrawal, in which Washington would end its combat mission on Aug. 31, and retain a transitional force of up to 50,000 U.S. troops to train and advise Iraqi security forces, conduct partnered and targeted counter-terrorism operations, and protect ongoing U.S. civilian and military efforts.
U.S. drawdown in Iraq has started early in President Barack Obama's tenure. When he took office in January 2009, there were 144,000 U.S. troops in Iraq. At his Camp Lejeune speech on Feb. 27, 2009, Obama announced the drawdown of U.S. troops level in Iraq to 50,000 by the end of August.