US General: Combat Troops Might Be Needed in Iraq Beyond August

Warns Troops Need to Maintain Buffer Between Iraqi, Kurdish Troops

The number of potential excuses for having to back off President Obama’s August “deadline” for having all combat troops out of Iraq continues to grow, with Major General Tony Cucolo, the commander of US troops in Northern Iraq, providing the latest possible reason.

Maj. Gen. Cucolo

According to Maj. Gen. Cucolo, the US may need to keep the combat troops in Iraq past August to maintain the “buffer” along the internal border between the semi-autonomous region of Kurdistan and the rest of Iraq.

The US has been increasing the number of their own checkpoints in Nineveh and other border provinces in recent months, as they attempt to calm growing tensions between the Kurds and Sunni Arabs, as well as the ever-present danger outright conflict between the Peshmerga (the troops of the Kurdistan Regional Government) and the Iraqi government’s security forces.

Maj. Gen Cucolo refused to put any sort of timetable on the issue, but since the Kurdish government has been at odds with the national government pretty much non-stop since the US invasion it is hard to imagine the situation being resolved any time soon.

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Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.