Entries in Raymond Odierno (1)


Former Commander Gen. Odierno: US Should Keep Troops in Iraq If Asked

Spencer Platt/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- At his confirmation hearing before the Senate Armed Services Committee Thursday, General Raymond Odierno said the U.S. should keep some troops in Iraq to deal with resurgent violence and to help counter Iran’s reach into the country.
“I think that if the government of Iraq requests, as you said, I think it's important that we provide them the support they think is necessary.  It is clear that Iran is attempting to influence this decision with the actions they've taken, specifically over the last several months, in continuing to support, fund, train, equip surrogates in southern Iraq and central Iraq, specifically going after the remnants of our U.S. presence inside of Iraq.  It's important that we continue to support Iraq for their external security, both for air sovereignty and also to help them in some of their security challenges to include potentially some of the Kurdish areas,” he said, adding that there is evidence of increased Iranian activity in Iraq, including the supply of weapons.
Odierno, who commanded coalition troops in Iraq from 2008-2010, has been nominated to be the Chief of Staff of the Army.
Iraq has yet to request that American troops stay beyond the end of the year when they’re scheduled to depart, as per the Status of Forces Agreement. Any decision to keep them there would be at the Iraqi government’s request and would have to be formalized in a new SOFA, which could take time.
Committee chairman Sen. Carl Levin said as much, noting that if U.S. forces are going to be staying past 2011 the Iraqis have to make the request soon so that negotiators can get cracking, given the logistical issues involved in keeping the troops there.

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