Mosul: The outgoing Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Mike Mullen, has urged the Iraqi government to make a quick decision on the status of American forces in the Middle Eastern country. Iraq must decide now whether it wants American troops to remain in the country beyond the December 2011 deadline, the top US military officer said on Monday, warning that any delay can threaten a safe and smooth troop withdrawal.“Now is the time. We have to know,” said Mullen, who arrived in Mosul, in the north of Iraq, after a two-day trip to war-torn Afghanistan.
Mullen met with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, who has repeatedly demanded that the US stick to its withdrawal deadline.
About 47,000 US soldiers currently stationed across Iraq must all leave at the end of the year based on an agreement signed between Washington and Baghdad in 2008.
The US invaded Iraq in 2003 under the pretext of destroying weapons of mass destruction (WMD) that were reportedly part of the executed Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein’s arsenal.
However, it was demonstrated that the country did not possess any WMDs at the time and that the US and Britain, which led the invasion, were clearly aware of the non-existence of such weapons in Iraq.
Over one million Iraqis have been killed as a result of the occupation, according to a study by a credible British polling group, Opinion Research Business.