Iraq President Talabani Says Iraqi Troops Will Be Ready At The End Of 2008

The Iraqi President tells ABC that building an army takes time and he foresees they won't be ready until the end of '08 to defend themselves.

talibani.jpg The Iraqi President tells ABC that building an army takes time and he foresees they won't be ready until the end of '08 to defend themselves. Are you listening, Rahm? Talabani said "in the next two years", three years ago. Al-Maliki also promised in Nov. 2006 that his “country’s forces would be able to assume security command by June 2007. He also denies that their parliament signed a petition that wants the US out of Iraq. They were deceived. He doesn't say how, so let's get Agatha Christie involved...Talabani concurs with the Gates's Korean analogy---the US will have a presence in Iraq for many years.

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TALABANI: I agree to put constructive pressure on Iraqi government, but I think we must be realistic. Unless we will be able to prepare our forces, armed forces, including army and police forces, to replace coalition forces, something as unpractical and...

STEPHANOPOULOS: But how long is that going to take? The training's been going on for so long.

TALABANI: Well, you know, to building an army after the collapse of the regime is not so easy.

STEPHANOPOULOS: When will the Iraqi army be ready to defend Iraq?

TALABANI: I think in the end of the next year.

STEPHANOPOULOS: End of 2008.

TALABANI: Yes.

Transcript via ABC:

TALABANI: And the majority of Iraqi people are for having here American army.

STEPHANOPOULOS: And a majority in the parliament have signed a petition saying...

TALABANI: No, it was not true.

STEPHANOPOULOS: ... the U.S. should go. Not true?

TALABANI: No. Some people were deceived.

STEPHANOPOULOS: So they signed it under false pretenses, you're saying.

TALABANI: Yes.

STEPHANOPOULOS: You're convinced that a majority of the parliament now wants the United States to stay.

TALABANI: Yes. Majority of the political forces who are represented in parliament and IN the political council of national security are voted unanimously for having American forces stay.

STEPHANOPOULOS: But what's wrong with a timetable? A majority of Americans support a timetable. They believe that would put constructive pressure on the Iraqi government.


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TALABANI: I agree to put constructive pressure on Iraqi government, but I think we must be realistic. Unless we will be able to prepare our forces, armed forces, including army and police forces, to replace coalition forces, something as unpractical and...

STEPHANOPOULOS: But how long is that going to take? The training's been going on for so long.

TALABANI: Well, you know, to building an army after the collapse of the regime is not so easy.

STEPHANOPOULOS: When will the Iraqi army be ready to defend Iraq?

TALABANI: I think in the end of the next year.

STEPHANOPOULOS: End of 2008.

TALABANI: Yes.

STEPHANOPOULOS: So U.S. forces will have to stay at high levels at least until then.

TALABANI: I cannot say. I'm not the president of the United States to decide how American forces -- when they must leave. But I think, as you asked of me, the end of 2000 [sic], we will be able to have an army.

STEPHANOPOULOS: The White House has been talking this week about having -- and so has Secretary Gates -- about having a long-term military presence in Iraq, like the United States has in South Korea.

SECRETARY OF DEFENSE ROBERT M. GATES: Some presence on the part of the United States that provides reassurance to our friends and to governments in the region, including those that might be our adversaries, that we're going to be there for a long time.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

STEPHANOPOULOS: Is that what you envision?

TALABANI: Many people in Iraq prefer not to have permanent, but they want to see, after ending the terrorism, to have American, some American military bases in special parts of Iraq to protect the sovereignty and independence of Iraq from outside interference.

STEPHANOPOULOS: So there will need to be a long-term presence, in your view.

TALABANI: In my personal view, yes.

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