Iraq, US set up joint command center
Iraq and the US have set up a joint command center to coordinate operations after the US forces withdraw from Iraqi cities and towns at the end of June, Press TV reported.
Iraq's Defense Ministry spokesman Major General Mohammed al-Askari has declared that the Joint Military Operations Coordination Committee would be empowered to give authorization to US forces to intervene militarily from July 1.
The opening of the center is part of an interim deal signed between Iraq and the United States in November. Under the deal, the US forces will withdraw from the Iraqi cities and towns by July 2009 and from the whole country by the end of 2011.
Iraq has already taken over more than three-quarters of the military bases the US is to hand over before June 30, Askari revealed.
"Minister of Defense (Abdel Qader) Obeidi today opened the Joint Military Operations Coordination Committee to monitor the work of US and Iraqi forces, and to organize operations after June 30," AFP quoted Askari as saying on Saturday.
"It is the body that gives authorization to American forces to intervene after June 30," he added.
The command center will be based in Iraq's Defense Ministry which is located in Baghdad's heavily fortified Green Zone.