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Iraq Journals

Glimpses of life in a war-torn country by GNS national security correspondent John Yaukey and photo director Jeff Franko.


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Thursday, June 24

Who will be in charge of security?

By Gannett News Service

There is virtually unanimous agreement that the run-up to the January elections in Iraq will see significant spikes in violence.

So who will command the counterinsurgency - Iraqi leaders or U.S. generals?

That's not clear.

Under the sovereignty agreement, Iraqi leaders will largely be in charge of security operations.

That means they will have the power to veto major operations like the Marine mission recently in Fallujah, where four American contract workers were killed and burned.

That said, U.S. and coalition forces will be able to take ``all necessary measures'' to ensure their own security if threatened or attacked.

The Pentagon plans to keep 138,000 U.S. forces in Iraq indefinitely, 25,000 more than was anticipating it would need before the insurgency swelled in April, killing 137 troops.

How long those troops remain is an open question.

Iraq's elected leadership might demand that they leave in 2006 when their security mandate expires.

Or they could stay on for years backing up Iraqi forces.