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U.S. plans hardware withdrawal from Iraq

  |   March 16, 2009 at 10:31 AM
BAGHDAD, March 16 (UPI) -- The Pentagon says military equipment withdrawn from Iraq will be shipped to Afghanistan and to huge U.S.-run warehouses throughout the Middle East.

Troop withdrawals from Iraq mark the beginning of an enormous relocation of hardware but not much of it will return to the United States, the Los Angeles Times reported Monday.

Some of the equipment will remain with Iraqi security forces, some will ship to Afghanistan and millions of tons of armor and weaponry will restock U.S. warehouses in the Persian Gulf in case it is needed in the future, Pentagon sources told the Times.

Restocking the warehouses is a sensitive subject with some countries in the Middle East wanting the U.S. protection and others, such as Kuwait, saying the military may only store equipment needed for the defense of Kuwait.

"What nobody wants to do is see the U.S. posture for an attack on Iran," Anthony H. Cordesman, a scholar at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, told the Times. "The rhetoric here is, 'We would love for you to stay but we don't want to be the springboard for some sort of idiotic exercise in Iran.'"

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