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 Challenges ahead for Iraqi forces' counterterror efforts

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PostSubject: Challenges ahead for Iraqi forces' counterterror efforts   Mon Oct 31, 2011 4:46 am

raq's counterterrorism forces will lose critical intelligence and other specialized capabilities when American forces withdraw at the end of the year.

Some military analysts worry the withdrawal could jeopardize the cheap jerseys free shippingsuccess these forces have had in weakening al-Qaeda's leadership in Iraq with daily raids on terrorist leaders.
"I believe there will be very direct and significant impact on our ability to conduct counterterrorism operations," said Fred Kagan, an influential military analyst who helped formulate the successful "surge" strategy in cheap football jerseys Iraq in 2007, which involved sending in more U.S. troops to pacify the country.

President Obama announced that all U.S. forces would leave Iraq at the end of this year. There are about 39,000 U.S. troops in Iraq now.
The effect of the withdrawal on Iraq's counterterrorism forces cheap baseball jerseys could be particularly significant, since the U.S. military provides specialized functions, such as intelligence gathering and sophisticated avionics, to support efforts to capture and kill terrorist cell leaders.
Insurgent violence has dropped dramatically in Iraq from its peak in June 2007, according to the U.S. command in Iraq. Still, terrorists continue to attack Iraqi security forces and civilians.
Iraq is no longer a "center of international terrorism," said James Dobbins, a military analyst at RAND Corp., a think tank. Still, terrorists are conducting attacks inside its borders. On Thursday, two bombings in Baghdad killed 18 people.
"Al-Qaeda in Iraq does remain a dangerous threat here," said Army Maj. NHL Jerseys Cheap Gen. Jeffrey Buchanan, the chief spokesman for U.S. forces in Iraq.
The terrorist organization continues to look for opportunities to regroup, analysts said. "The fact that al-Qaeda in Iraq is degraded is not same as saying it has been defeated," Kagan said.
The raids have helped keep al-Qaeda snsbars off balance. "We're pretty busy on the counterterrorism side," Buchanan said.
Iranian-backed militia groups also remain a threat in Iraq, the U.S. military has said.
Iraq's special forces, which number about 5,000, are highly capable as assault troops able to kick in doors and capture and kill insurgent leaders. But they have relied on specialized support from the United States. "Without all the enablers we provide, there's no doubt there will be less capability than there is right now," Buchanan said.
Buchanan said Iraqi special forces are expanding their cheap nfl jerseys capabilities. "We've been working with them to build the systems all along to give them this capacity," Buchanan said. "They will continue to grow."
Buchanan said Iraqi helicopter pilots are becoming skilled at using night-vision goggles and are supporting raids. "They're headed in the right direction," he said.
Buchanan said the Iraqis will need to keep the pressure on terrorist cells. "What they can't afford to do, I think, is take their foot off the accelerator," Buchanan said.
The United States was planning to remove remaining U.S. troops from Iraq this year under an existing agreement. U.S. and Iraqi officials were discussing a new agreement that would allow some U.S. advisers to be embedded with Iraqi forces.
No agreement was reached because the Iraqi government would not guarantee immunity for American forces, a particular concern in Iraq, where the legal system is not fully developed.
The U.S. military plans to retain a strong relationship with Iraq even without a contingent of advisers there. Iraq is purchasing more than $13 billion worth of military equipment, including 18 F-16 fighters, 140 M-1 tanks and armored vehicles and helicopters.
The Pentagon also has said it may conduct joint exercises with Iraqi forces in the future.
"It's important for the relationship of our two countries to move forward from one that's been dominated by a military relationship to one that's dominated by a diplomatic relationship," Buchanan said.
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