Tuesday, July 10, 2007

So much for the "surge" ending the war

Iraq war 'to last for decades', warns Petraeus

The fight against rebels in Iraq could carry on for decades, the head of U.S. forces there has warned.

Lieutenant General David Petraeus said his soldiers were engaged in a tough fight which would get "harder before it gets easier".

He claimed recent troop reinforcements had led to gains against insurgents but he warned stability would not be achieved overnight.

He said: "Northern Ireland, I think, taught you that very well. My counterparts in your (British) forces really understand this kind of operation. It took a long time, decades.

"I don't know whether this will be decades, but the average counter insurgency is somewhere around a nine or a ten-year endeavour."

He added that more important than the length of time it would take to quell the rebellion was the question over how many of the 157,000 U.S. troops would be required to remain in Iraq. Iraqi leaders have warned that an early U.S. troop withdrawal could tip the country into civil war.

Officials said security forces were not ready and warned that an early withdrawal could produce a security vacuum. A wave of bombings and shootings in Iraq killed 250 at the weekend.

More than 330 U.S. soldiers died in Iraq between April and June - the deadliest three months for U.S. troops since 2003.

Original article posted here.

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