"I will be very surprised if they (U.S. and other foreign troops) don't think very seriously of starting pulling out probably by the end of the first half of next year," said Iraqi national security adviser Mowaffak Al-Rubaie in an interview with CNN's "Late Edition."
It’s getting hard not to wonder what will happen when (not if) Iraq asks the United States and associated allies to remove its military presence. Will the U.S. immediately comply, relieved of the burden of bolstering a fragile democratic state? Or will President Bush refuse, engage in stall tactics, or perhaps insist that a foreign military presence in necessary in the grander scheme of the War on Terror?
Will a United Nations peacekeeping presence be established in time to make a smooth transition?
"I think we are winning -- on the winning course, there is no doubt about it. The level of violence is not measured only by the number of explosions every day, or the number of casualties," he said.
One cannot help but to be reminded of the bald lies and grotesque comedy during the final days of Saddam Hussein’s fall, when it was insisted that Iraq was winning the war. That the invasion, in fact, was barely even taking place.
That’s not to say that progress isn’t being made in Iraq, due to the hard work, courage, and sacrifice of a great many individuals. But it is misleading at the least to state that the “winning course” is not closely related to level of violence in Iraq, particularly at a time when the United States alone has 138,000 troops on the ground.
What will happen when those 138,000 troops are removed?
In related news, a suicide bomber killed 25 people in Northern Iraq on Sunday. The target of the attack was the headquarters of a political party based in Kurdistan.
Insurgents have in recent days carried out a furious sequence of attacks, including more than 15 car bombings in Baghdad that have killed dozens.
In more related news, a funeral procession in Northern Iraq was attacked by a suicide car bomber, killing more than 20, according to reports.