Iraq's foreign minister warned on Monday that a quick American military pullout from the country could lead to civil war and the collapse of the government.
Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar said Iraqis "understand the huge pressure that will increase more and more in the United States" ahead of the progress report by the U.S. ambassador and top commander in Iraq. "We have held discussion with members of Congress and explained to them the dangers of a quick pull out (from Iraq) and leaving a security vacuum," Zebari said, according to the AP. "The dangers could be a civil war, dividing the country, regional wars and the collapse of the state.
"In our estimations, until Iraqi forces are ready, there is a responsibility on the United States to stand with the (government) as the forces are being built," he said.
"There are some people who disagree with this assessment, but it's the responsibility of the United States and other countries to stand with the Iraqi government and the Iraqi people," he said.
Zebari's plea came as President Bush was due to face a fresh attack from congressional Democrats over his Iraq policy and as the New York Times reported he was under pressure to declare a redeployment of US troops in Iraq. According to the Times, White House aides are worried Bush is losing Republican support in the Senate and should change course sooner.