The U.S. military presence is deeply unpopular here, but Obama's plan to withdrawal all forces has been met with opposition in Washington
Iraqi political leaders Ayyad Allawi and Moqtada al-Sadr / Reuters
BAGHDAD, Iraq -- Former Iraqi prime minister Ayad Allawi is one of the most pro-American politicians in this country and has had a warm, decades-long relationship with the Pentagon and the CIA. He believes Iraq's security forces will be incapable of protecting the country without sustained foreign assistance.
But you won't hear him call for U.S. troops to remain in Iraq beyond the end of the year, when the U.S. military is expected to fully draw down its presence unless Washington and Baghdad negotiate an extension.
"We have serious security problems in this country and serious political problems," Allawi said in an interview at his heavily guarded compound here. "Keeping Americans in Iraq longer isn't the answer to the problems of Iraq. It may be an answer to the problems of the U.S., but it's definitely not the solution to the problems of my country."
With U.S. troops streaming out of Iraq by the thousands, the unpopular American-led war here is finally drawing to a close. Under the terms of a 2008 security agreement between Baghdad and Washington, all of the roughly 45,000 troops who remain in Iraq are slated to withdraw by the end of the year.