September report key to Iraq assessment

WASHINGTON, June 17 (UPI) -- The time to determine how long U.S. forces will be in Iraq is September, when a key report will be presented to Congress, the Senate's top Republican says.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said most GOP senators would withhold judgment until September when they hear a multi-level assessment by Gen. David Petraeus, U.S. commanding general in Iraq, and Ryan Crocker, U.S. ambassador to Iraq.


"The Iraqis will have to step up, not only on the political side but on the military side, to a greater extent. We're not there forever," McConnell said Sunday on CBS' "Face the Nation" with Bob Schieffer.

"But I think the proper time to really make a serious evaluation of the direction we ought to head is in September."

Agreeing with the less-than-rosy assessment was Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee.

"There's no progress on the political side, and that's the key," he said.

"They're still deadlocked there. There's still political paralysis in that government. And unless there's a political solution, unless these factions come together in Iraq, there's not going to be any hope of a successful outcome here."


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