WASHINGTON, June 25 (UPI) -- If U.S. troop reduction in Iraq begins this fall, troop levels in western Iraq are not expected to decline, a top U.S. general said.
Gen. George W. Casey Jr., the top U.S. commander in Iraq, has drafted plans to reduce U.S. military presence in Iraq starting this September, The New York Times reported. However, Lt. Gen. John F. Sattler, head of U.S. Marines in the Middle East and Central Asia, told the newspaper a drawdown would not likely affect troop levels in the western part of Iraq, one of the most dangerous areas of the country.
"I see no reductions in American forces in Al Anbar into next year, at least through next summer, because of the restiveness there," said Sattler. "Al Anbar is going to be one of the last provinces to be stabilized."
U.S. officials stressed any withdrawals would depend on progress in Iraq.
Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., said on CBS' "Face the Nation" Sunday that Democratic efforts to secure a timetable for troop withdrawal were vindicated by Casey's plan, and by a proposal by Iraqi leaders for a withdrawal timetable.