May 13, 2010
- A d v e r t i s e m e n t
The White House is likely to delay the withdrawal of the first large phase of combat troops from Iraq for at least a month after escalating bloodshed and political instability in the country.
General Ray Odierno, the US commander, had been due to give the order within 60 days of the general election held in Iraq on 7 March, when the cross-sectarian candidate Ayad Allawi edged out the incumbent leader, Nouri al-Maliki.
American officials had been prepared for delays in negotiations to form a government, but now appear to have balked after Maliki’s coalition aligned itself with the theocratic Shia bloc to the exclusion of Allawi, who attracted the bulk of the minority Sunni vote. There is also concern over interference from Iraq’s neighbours, Iran, Turkey and Syria.