US troop cuts in Iraq will stall after July to ensure security for local elections, a Washington official said yesterday. "You can actually increase your own risk if you pull out too many simultaneously," the official said. "This is not a stall tactic." But Baghdad officials nixed plans for the summer ballots this week, highlighting tensions between Baghdad and provincial governments.
If elections stay on schedule, US troop cuts will freeze at 140,000 and last 4 to 6 weeks. "I think before the end of '08, we are going to see additional drawdowns," said the official, who stayed anonymous because Washington will officially change troop plans only after Army Gen. David H. Petraeus talks to President Bush next month, the Los Angeles Times reports.