Petraeus: US Could Be Out of Baghdad by July '09

General says capital's security could enable handover to Iraqi forces within year
By Ambreen Ali,  Newser User
Posted Sep 3, 2008 12:46 PM CDT
Iraqi and US army soldiers walk down a field as smoke rises from a burned irrigation canal in Diyala province. US troops have pulled out of cities in 13 of Iraq's 18 provinces.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – US troops could pull out of Baghdad by next summer if violence continues declining, David Petraeus told the Financial Times today. “Conditions permitting, yeah,” the top American general said when asked about a withdrawal by July 2009, adding that daily attacks in the capital have fallen dramatically enough that a handover to Iraqi troops was under consideration.

“The number of attacks in Baghdad lately has been, gosh, I think it’s probably less than five [a day] on average, and that’s a city of 7 million people,” said Petraeus, whose term as commander in Iraq comes to a close this month.