US combat brigades in Iraq may soon be given an expanded role in training and supporting Iraqis, reports the New York Times. Under the plan, not yet finalized, a quarter of US troops would be withdrawn next July but others would stay behind to help transfer more of the security role to Iraqis—while safeguarding gains made during the surge.
Soldiers in hot spots would continue their combat role. The plan is likely to be sharply opposed by war critics, who have demanded a far more rapid withdrawal of troops. The plan could also be undermined by the fact that Iraqis don't yet have enough officers and are still too weak in unit training to take on a critical security role.