There is growing likelihood President Bush will announce the withdrawal of about 5,000 troops sometime this fall in view of the sharp reduction in violence in Iraq. Politically, the Iraq government is pushing for faster withdrawal of American troops from their nation as they grown more and more confidence of the government’s ability to maintain law and order. A large contingent of Sunni lawmakers have returned to Parliament which is a sign of possible lessening of Sunni-Shiite tensions. Add into this shift is growing desire on the part of the American public for the return of their sons and daughters and one is left with the conclusion, the withdrawal process will commence in the coming months.
However, possible roadblocks to this process is the still weak condition of the Iraqi armed forces. There are uncertainties such as a possible uprising by followers of al-Sadr which would strain resources and abilities of the Iraq army to confront such forces.
It is only natural for military leaders to be cautious and we can expect a slow down in withdrawal until those on the scene of action are certain Iraqi armed forces are competent. Of course, a hitch in these plans might arise from Afghanistan and the growing insurgency in that nation. It would not be surprising if troops from Iraq wound up in Afghanistan rather than in America.