Iraq Is Expected to Ask U.S. Troops to Remain

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first_img The man nominated by President Barack Obama to lead the Pentagon said that he expects that Iraq will ask to extend the presence of U.S. troops in the country beyond the deadline of the end of 2011. If that occurs, the United States should say yes, outgoing CIA chief Leon Panetta told a Senate committee considering his nomination for the post of secretary of defense. “It is clear to me that Iraq is considering the possibility of making a request for some kind of (troop) presence to remain there,” he said. Panetta said that he believes that the request will come “at some point.” The Shiite-dominated governing coalition led by Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki is debating whether to ask Washington to leave some of its 47,000 soldiers in Iraq, perhaps as instructors and advisers. At least one group in Maliki’s coalition, however, the Sadr bloc led by anti-U.S. cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, is energetically opposed to a continuing presence by Washington’s troops beyond 2011, the date set for the soldiers’ withdrawal under a bilateral security agreement. U.S. and Iraqi military commanders fear that the Iraqi armed forces are not fully prepared to defend the country. Washington has noted deficiencies in Iraqi air defenses, intelligence fusion, and logistics, among other areas. Violence has decreased considerably since the most intense period of the war in Iraq, but security remains precarious. Five U.S. soldiers died Monday in a rocket attack, the worst incident for U.S. forces in at least two years. Panetta said that he believes that there are still one thousand Al Qaeda militants in Iraq. “It, too, continues to be a fragile situation, and I believe that we should take whatever steps are necessary to make sure that we protect whatever progress we have made there,” he said. Outgoing Defense Secretary Robert Gates has publicly suggested that Iran is another reason to maintain U.S. forces in Iraq. Washington has accused Iran of supporting Shiite militias, an accusation that Teheran denies, and Iraqi Sunnis view Iran’s intentions with enormous mistrust. Gates said last month that a continued U.S. military presence in Iraq would be “reassuring” to the states of the Persian Gulf. He also said that it would not be reassuring to neighboring Iran, and “that’s a good thing.” By Dialogo June 13, 2011last_img read more

Mikel Arteta sends message to Bukayo Saka amid contract stand-off

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first_img Comment Mikel Arteta sends message to Bukayo Saka amid contract stand-off Arteta is confident Saka will stay (Picture: AFP via Getty)Mikel Arteta has told Bukayo Saka he is ‘adored’ by his Arsenal team-mates and that his manager ‘has total belief in him’ as he continues to delay signing a new deal. Saka, 18, is out of contract at the end of next season, with talks ongoing between the two parties. Negotiations have been going on throughout 2020 without finding a resolution, with Saka’s stock rising after becoming a first-team regular under Arteta. While the Arsenal manager has said previously that he’s ‘confident’ about Saka committing his future to the Emirates, he sent a message to the youngster to reiterate his standing at the club. AdvertisementAdvertisementADVERTISEMENT‘It’s in his hands,’ the Arsenal manager said after their win over Southampton. ‘He has a manager who has total belief in him and team-mates who adore him. Advertisement Saka has become a regular under Arteta (Picture: Arsenal FC via Getty)‘You can put him in different positions and he picks it up really quickly. He could have produced three goals today easily.’Arteta provided an update on the situation on Wednesday, saying: ‘I am very positive that everything is going to be done with Bukayo very shortly.More: FootballRio Ferdinand urges Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to drop Manchester United starChelsea defender Fikayo Tomori reveals why he made U-turn over transfer deadline day moveMikel Arteta rates Thomas Partey’s chances of making his Arsenal debut vs Man City‘The communications between the club, agents & the family has been going on for months & is very fluent.’Fellow Arsenal youngsters Eddie Nketiah and Joe Willock were on the scoresheet against the Saints, in what was Arsenal’s first win since the Premier League season resumed.Will Saka become an Arsenal legend?Yes0%No0%Share your resultsShare your resultsTweet your resultsMORE: Kieran Tierney reveals how Arsenal players reacted to their dismal defeat at BrightonMORE: Claudio Bravo speaks out on his future amid Arsenal transfer interestFollow Metro Sport across our social channels, on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.For more stories like this, check our sport page. Advertisement Metro Sport ReporterThursday 25 Jun 2020 9:05 pmShare this article via facebookShare this article via twitterShare this article via messengerShare this with Share this article via emailShare this article via flipboardCopy link3.7kShareslast_img read more