American General Says Troops Will Remain ``A Couple More Years'' - KAIT Jonesboro, AR - Region 8 News, weather, sports

American General Says Troops Will Remain ``A Couple More Years''

March 19, 2006 - Posted at 1:17 p.m. CST

WASHINGTON (AP) _ The top US commander in Iraq says he expects

``a couple more years of'' the American military operations in

Iraq, with a gradual decline in troop numbers.

General George Casey tells NBC US and allied troops will

gradually hand over more of their work to Iraqi forces.

Casey says Iraq's religious divisions and violence make it

``fragile.'' But he disputes a top Iraqi politician's

characterization of the violence as a civil war. Former Prime

Minister Ayad Allawi tells the BBC Iraq is

losing 50 to 60 people a day. He adds if that's ``not civil war,

then God knows what civil war is.''

Casey says he hasn't spoken with Allawi recently. But the

general says he doesn't see a civil war erupting ``any time soon.''

Congressional war critic John Murtha tells NBC ``We're caught

in a civil war.'' The congressman says America must tell Iraqis,

``This is up to you now to settle this thing.''

(Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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