When the U.S. moves out, will Iran move in?BAGHDAD — The top U.S. military officer said Friday that Iraq must act very soon if it wants American forces to stay longer in the country, as discussions intensify over whether to keep any troops past this year.
Adm. Mike Mullen told reporters in Baghdad that time is running out for negotiations over an extended American troop presence. He emphasized the U.S. position that it would consider any request by the Iraqi government to keep American forces in the country past their expected Dec. 31 departure date but said that so far Baghdad has not asked the U.S. to do so.
Mullen is the latest in a line of American officials, including U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, Speaker of the House John Boehner and Chief of Staff of the Army Gen. Martin Dempsey, who have come to Iraq, many sounding the same warning that time is running out for Iraq to ask the Americans to stay longer.
Privately, many Iraqi officials say they are worried about what will happen after the U.S. withdraws but publicly they maintain that all American forces will leave as scheduled.