President: Iraq needs U.S. presence after 2011
Azerbaijan, Baku, Nov. 26 / Trend S.Isayev/
Iraqi President Jalal Talabani expressed his view on the U.S. presence in Iraq. The country's leader pointed out, that numerous reports from Iraq's military leaders detailed serious deficiencies in the air force, navy and infantry, Al Jazeera reported.
"The reports show that Iraq needs the U.S presence after 2011, at least as trainers, because they will be able to protect our air space and shores, and help Iraqis to use the new weapons that we got from the Americans," Talabani said.
The President also said that Iraqi military commanders favored the continued U.S. troop presence in Iraq due to weaknesses in air and naval defenses. Talabani pointed out that another possibility is to arrange for European trainers to train Iraqis on U.S. weapons systems.
The U.S remaining troops hitting about 18,000 are to leave Iraq by the end of next month, nearly nine years after the invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein. Washington and Baghdad were unable to reach agreement to keep thousands of U.S. troops in Iraq beyond the year-end. The talks were stumbled over the issue of legal safeguards for the soldiers.
About 750 U.S trainers, almost all of them civilians, are expected to stay, along with nearly 200 U.S. military personnel attached to the U.S. embassy.