Iraq Expects Decade of US Involvement
Domestic assistance needed through 2012, Baghdad says
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 15, 2008 11:35 AM CST
Iraq's Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki, right, speaks during a press conference next to Defense Minister Abdul Qadir, left, in this Oct. 3, 2007 file photo. Qadir said Monday, 14 January 2008, that...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – Iraq won’t be ready to defend its borders until 2018 at the earliest, the defense minister said yesterday, offering a pessimistic update of an earlier estimate. The country will also require internal security help through at least 2012, Abdul Qadir said. The estimates are more specific—and longer—than any American politician has voiced in public, reports the New York Times.

Qadir visited an Army base in Virginia to continue hammering out long-term strategies with US officials. “We are transitioning from crisis mode, from dealing with day-to-day battlefield decisions, to a long-term strategic relationship,” said a Pentagon spokesman. Specifics of the US military's future status in Iraq are expected to be set by July.