Iraq: 12,000 US and 4,000 British troops to leave by September
The U.S. military announced Sunday that 12,000 American and 4,000 British troops will leave Iraq by September. According to the AP, Maj. Gen. David Perkins said the troop withdrawals will reduce U.S. combat power from 14 brigades to 12 along with some supporting units. The U.S. also intends to turn over 74 facilities and areas under its control to the Iraqis by the end of March as part of the drawdown.
The U.S. withdrawal will be gradual at first, leaving most troops in place for parliamentary elections at the end of this year. There are currently about 135,000 U.S. troops in Iraq.
Remaining American forces will be repositioned in coordination with Iraqi authorities to ensure the most dangerous areas of the country are protected, Perkins conveyed. According to him, violence has dropped more than 90 percent and was at its lowest level since the summer of 2003. "Al-Qaeda and other terrorists are still active," he said.
"It's indicative that al-Qaida feels threatened. They're feeling desperate. They want very much to maintain relevance," he said.