- The Washington Times - Thursday, January 19, 2006

Officials in the once-notorious insurgent stronghold of Anbar province are preparing for local Iraqi forces to assume security responsibilities, perhaps as early as this year.

There has been no official U.S. announcement of an impending transfer nor of a possible timeframe. But according to the Beirut-based Dar Alhayat, U.S. and Iraqi officials have begun discussions to hand over security responsibilities “as U.S. forces withdraw gradually.” The Dar Alhayat story, published on www.PowerLineBlog.com and confirmed by two Iraqi officials with knowledge of the discussions, reported that Iraqi Prime Minister Ibrahim Al Jafari, tribal leaders, U.S. Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad and Multinational Forces Commander Gen. George Casey reached an agreement “to replace U.S. forces spread throughout Anbar province with locally enlisted forces.”

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