At the time when the Iraqi Chief of Staff Gen. Babacar Zebari said the Iraqi army would not be able to guarantee the security of the country by 2020, urging the U.S. forces to stay until then, the adviser to U.S. Vice-President for National Security Affairs Anthony Blenkn conveyed the decision regarding the American withdrawal was final.
The Daily Telegraph newspaper on Thursday quoted Zebari as saying "The Iraqi army will not be able to cope with the security situation without the support of American forces." "At this stage the withdrawal is going well, because they are still here, but the problem will start after 2011, and politicians must find other ways to fill the gap after 2011."
"If we were asked by the politicians regarding the withdrawal I would say the U.S. military should stay until the Iraqi army is fully prepared in 2020."
The United States now has 64,000 troops deployed in Iraq. Approximately 50,000 will stay in the country until the end of 2011 to train Iraqi forces and defend U.S. interests.