The US and UK are on their way out of Iraq, according to this Guardian report:
The US and Britain have privately agreed an exit strategy from Iraq based on doubling the number of local police trainees and setting up Iraqi units that would act as a halfway house between the police and the army.
The agreement was reached on Monday between the US secretary of defence, Donald Rumsfeld, and his British counterpart, Geoff Hoon.
Personally, I doubt whether the US is ready to leave. After all, one argument for the invasion of Iraq was to replace the increasingly troublesome US presence in Saudi Arabia.
The Chicago Tribune had this interesting quote back in April 2003.
"If you’re thinking about blowing up Syria or Iran, all those Iraqi bases are going to be far more useful than a base in Saudi Arabia would have been," said John Pike, director of Globalsecurity.org. "I think the governments of Iran and Syria are going to be very nervous with a large American military presence on their borders."
So with the US turning up the heat on Iran and Syria now, how likely is it to be getting ready to leave Iraq?
No doubt, it will want to get the troop numbers down, and that will need a supportive Iraqi Government, particularly in the event of new military adventures. The US will certainly be hoping that Prime Minister Allawi does well enough to retain his job in tomorrow’s elections.