The Iraqi army may be able to take control of all 18 provinces by the end of the year.
Iraq's army and police could be ready to take over security in all 18 provinces by the end of this year as the U.S. military moves toward a less prominent role in the country, U.S. officials said on Thursday.
"We look at it every month. We make recommendations. I think that if we continue along the path we're on now, we'll be able to do that by the end of 2008," Lt. Gen. Ray Odierno, the No. 2 commander of U.S. forces in Iraq, said when asked when Iraqi forces could take the lead in all provinces.
He said that a joint operation under way led by Iraqi troops and supported by U.S. troops against al Qaeda militants in the northern city of Mosul was a model for the future.
The Iraqi army is already controlling security in 9 provinces, and this spells good news as President Bush is looking to withdraw 20,000 troops permanently sometime this summer. As we see, the surge is working and things are finally going the way they should be. Now, the only real hurdle to complete success is getting the Iraqi government on task.