- The Washington Times - Monday, January 26, 2009

BAGHDAD (AP) — The Iraqi prime minister says he expects the U.S. to withdraw its troops faster than the three-year timeline laid down in the U.S.-Iraq security agreement.

Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki told a political rally Monday that he expects the dates for the U.S. departure “will be brought forward … compared with the dates set down in the agreement.”

As a result, al-Maliki says the government must beef up Iraqi security forces.

The agreement reached under President George W. Bush’s administration provides for all U.S. troops to leave by the end of 2011.

President Barack Obama campaigned on a promise to remove all combat troops within 16 months and has asked the Pentagon to plan for “a responsible military drawdown from Iraq.”

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