With its Armed Forces now more able to contain insurgents, Iraq had planned to pull back troops from inside the cities and fully hand over to Police run by the Interior Ministry at the end of the year.
“For the moment, we haven’t reached the degree of assurance needed to fully hand over security matters to the Interior Ministry,” Major General Qassim Al Moussawi, the Spokesman for the Iraqi Military Commander-in-Chief said in an interview.
“Al Qaeda and other terrorists are still a source of concern for Security Forces. We still have work to do, and to close the gaps which the enemy is trying to access,” Moussawi said. He did not say when the full handover would happen, but added that Iraqi federal and local police were still not ready, often lacking intelligence capabilities to track insurgents in areas like Anbar, Diyala, Mosul and Salahuddin provinces.
Around 44,000 US troops remain in Iraq, mostly assisting and advising Iraqi Forces after halting combat operations last year. But they are scheduled to pull out by end of year as a current security agreement expires then.
US and Iraqi officials are in talks over whether some US troops will stay on as trainers, but the issue of whether American Military in Iraq will receive legal immunity is complicating those negotiations.
Source: The Peninsula