News Icon

News: Iraq Election Debate Won't Affect U.S. Drawdown

Story by Gerry GilmoreSmall RSS IconSubscriptions Icon

WASHINGTON - As Iraq's lawmakers craft new election rules prior to January polling there, U.S. officials are confident that both the U.S. troop drawdown and the elections will be accomplished on schedule.

"The [Iraq drawdown] timelines that the United States government and the Iraqi government have set out have not changed," Defense Department spokesman Bryan Whitman said, Oct. 23, in response to a reporter's question at the Pentagon.

The United States remains committed to plans to remove all of its combat forces from Iraq by the end of July 2010, Whitman said. All U.S. troops are to depart Iraq by the end of December 2011.

Meanwhile, the Iraqi government is gearing up for legislative elections Jan. 16 and for the Jan. 30 general elections.

"With respect to the elections, obviously we are encouraging that they go through with the elections as their constitution states that they have to," Whitman said.

Using the 2005 election law as a starting point, Iraqi lawmakers had aimed to complete work on an updated election law governing the country's voting processes by Oct. 15.

Yet, consensus has yet to be reached on some issues that include how to apportion Kurd and Arab political representation in Kirkuk, part of Iraq's multiethnic northern region; and whether candidates should be identified just by political party, as was the case in the 2005 parliamentary election, or also by name.

Meanwhile, the U.S. military is "focused on the elections," Whitman said, noting U.S. drawdown plans remain flexible in light of conditions on the ground.

About 120,000 U.S. troops are now in Iraq. By the end of July 2010, about 50,000 U.S. troops will be in Iraq, when the U.S. military mission there transitions from combat to stability operations.

"I don't think we're really worried" about delays in passage of a new Iraq election law, Army Brig. Gen. Stephen R. Lanza, Multinational Force Iraq's deputy chief of staff for strategy, told reporters yesterday during a news briefing at the Washington Foreign Press Center.

"We're very comfortable and very hopeful that the law will be passed by the end of this month," Lanza said, "and that it will not detract from the ability to conduct the elections, in accordance with the Iraqi constitution, by the end of January."

Iraq's Independent High Electoral Commission is the lead agency for conducting the upcoming elections, he said.

"We are confident IHEC will conduct the elections in a fair and impartial manner," he added. And, international observers from the United Nations and other organizations, he said, will be on hand to ensure that the elections are credible and legitimate.

Election results are to be certified by the Iraqi Supreme Court, Lanza said.

The United States is implementing a responsible drawdown timeline, Lanza said, that takes into account operational requirements and the capabilities of Iraq's more than 600,000 soldiers and police.

The Iraqi government, he said, may request U.S. forces' assistance "to ensure a security environment that allows for safe, credible and legitimate elections."


Web Views
445
Downloads
445

Podcast Hits
0



Public Domain Mark
This work, Iraq Election Debate Won't Affect U.S. Drawdown, by Gerry Gilmore, identified by DVIDS, is free of known copyright restrictions under U.S. copyright law.

Date Taken:10.23.2009

Date Posted:10.23.2009 15:43

Location:WASHINGTON, DC, USGlobe

More Like This

  • An asset recovery team with the 632nd Maintenance Company, 110th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, 224th Sustainment Brigade, 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) is assigned to run convoy recovery missions in southern Iraq to support the responsible drawdown of U.S. troops and equipment from Iraq.
  • In preparation for the expected pullout of U.S. troops from Iraq at the conclusion of Operation New Dawn, Charlie Company, 640th Aviation Support Battalion, will provide tactical signal support for the 40th Combat Aviation Brigade, now controlling about half of Army aviation assets in Iraq.
  • As U.S. forces draw down in Iraq, units remaining in theater are consolidating to major locations.
  • Members of the media gathered to witness the progress and methods of the responsible drawdown of U.S. forces June 24 at Victory Base Complex, Iraq.

News Tags

No tags found.

Options

  • Army
  • Marines
  • Navy
  • Air Force
  • Coast Guard
  • National Guard

HOLIDAY GREETINGS

SELECT A HOLIDAY:

VIDEO ON DEMAND

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Youtube
  • Flickr