Tonight's the Night: Iraq's Leader Had Told Reporters U.S. Could Start Pullout By June 1

By: E&P Staff Last November 30, as the Iraq Study Group was about to release its report -- and talk of a U.S. escalation still a few weeks off -- the press gave a lot of weight to the words of Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki when he vowed that his country's forces would be able to assume security command by June 2007, which could allow the United States to start withdrawing its troops.

"I cannot answer on behalf of the U.S. administration but I can tell you that from our side our forces will be ready by June 2007," Maliki told ABC television after meeting President Bush in Amman, Jordan.

Maliki had replied to a question about whether U.S. troops could start withdrawing at that time.

As his promised deadline approached this month, the handover was as far from reality as ever and the U.S. suffered its highest rate of casualties in years.


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