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Obama Calls for Withdrawal of Troops From Iraq By 2010

By VOA News
14 July 2008

Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama is calling for U.S. combat troops to be withdrawn from Iraq by mid-2010.

In an opinion article in The New York Times Monday, Obama says he will not hold the U.S. military or its resources "hostage" to what he called a misguided desire to maintain permanent bases in Iraq.

Obama says a residual force would remain in Iraq to perform limited service missions such as fighting remnants of al-Qaida and protecting U.S. military personnel.

Obama says he believes the war in Iraq was a mistake and should be brought to an end.

Obama has faced criticism in recent weeks over charges that if elected, he may delay the withdrawal of troops from Iraq.

The article Monday comes as Israeli and Palestinian officials announced that the Illinois senator will visit Israel and the West Bank next week.

Israeli and Palestinian officials say Obama is scheduled to hold talks with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert on Tuesday of next week, then meet with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas Wednesday.

Senator Obama has not released his travel plans, but announced last month that he would visit the Middle East and Europe in July.

He has said the trip will give him an opportunity to assess the situations in countries critical to U.S. national security and consult with friends and allies about common challenges.

U.S. Republican presidential candidate Senator John McCain has criticized Obama for his foreign policy views and his alleged lack of experience. McCain is a strong supporter of the U.S.-led war in Iraq and was an early advocate of a "surge" of additional U.S. troops there.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.



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