Adel, who did not want his full name used because he was not authorized by his superiors to talk to the press, has just 15 men under his command and two Humvees at his disposal. There are plans to bolster his force with an additional 100 or so men, but they will be bringing only five additional Humvees.
They will be filling the gap left by the 180 departing American soldiers and their 55 vehicles, as well as a mortar unit. The Iraqi soldiers are armed just with AK-47s and a handful of heavy machine guns.
"Their absence will leave a big hole," Adel said of the Americans. "They are leaving too early. We need another two to three years."
U.S. troops won't be going far, and will still be on call to help out should the Iraqi security forces need them, said Army Lt. Col. John Vermeesch, who commands U.S. forces in northwest Baghdad.
Though the smaller bases scattered through Baghdad will be closed, several bigger ones on the edges of the capital will remain. These troops on the outskirts will be available to help if asked.
The above is from Liz Sly's "Baghdad outpost eager to put boredom behind" (Los Angeles Times) and it's interesting that June 30th is when US troops are supposed to leave Iraq cities and major areas but now everyone's supposed to be happy with the occassional closing of an outpost.
In news of violence, Laith Hammoudi and Hussein Kadhim (McClatchy Newspapers) reports a Baghdad roadside bombing which claimed 1 life and left two people injured and a Ramadi suicide car bombing targeting Maj Gen Tariq al-Asal who was wounded ("superficial injury") in the bombing as were two police officers and, dropping back to Friday a Falluja roadside bombing which claimed 3 lives (1 was the brother of a Sahwa), a Kirkuk roadside bombing attack on Sahwa leader Khalaf Ibraheem (four people were wounded) and a Diyala Prvoince roadside bombing which claimed 2 lives and left two people injured. Xinhua adds on the Ramadi suicide car bombing, "Assal is one of the senior police officers who cooperates with the Sunni paramilitary groups of Awakening Councils in fighting the al-Qaida in Iraq network in Anbar province."
In political news, the Tehran Times reports Jalal Talabani, Iraq's president, met with Hassan Kazemi Quomi, Iranian Ambassador to Iraq, about increasing the ties between the two countries.
Meanwhile Chandra Broadwater (Tampa Bay Times) reports that as Erika Piasecki was serving in Iraq an e-mail came in informing her that "a judge has signed an order removing her 12-year-old daughter from her home. One day Ashley was living with Erika's husband, Matt, the only father she had ever known. The next, she was handed over to a man, James Everson, who had never been part of her life. Everson is thought to be Ashley's biological father, but even that is not clear." As had been discussed and agreed to, Matt was in the process of adopting Ashley but, as soon as papers were filed and with Erika in Baghdad, James decided he didn't want the adoption to go through so James showed up at Ashley's school and took her home and Matt was informed the police couldn't do a thing about it. Broadwarter notes:
Erika said in an e-mail, "I get by, day by day, trying to keep myself busy so I don't have to think about what is happening. I know Matthew is home taking care of things the best that he can."
In other legal news, Melissa Grace (New York Daily News) reports Iraq War veteran Brandon Connelly was arrested for drunk driving and manslaughter after the death of Jamil Aljabal in the "three-care pile up" Connelly is alleged to be responsible for.
KWOW reports Beloit's 180th Medical Detachment is preparing to deploy to Iraq.
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