Gates in Iraq to transfer US war command

Alarabiya – Gates in Iraq to transfer US war command

U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates made a surprise visit to Iraq on Monday, saying the new U.S. commander will inherit a “mission in transition” as the U.S. force shrinks and turns over more of the country to Iraqis.

…On Tuesday he will preside over a ceremony to transfer command of U.S.-led forces in Iraq to Lieutenant-General Ray Odierno from General David Petraeus, whose term was marked by the deployment of 30,000 extra U.S. troops and a substantial decline in violence.

“The challenge, I think, for General Odierno is: How do we work with the Iraqis to preserve the gains that have already been achieved, expand upon them, even as the numbers of U.S. forces are shrinking,” Gates told reporters on his plane.

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