Iraq War

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  US Troops 'To Quit Iraq By 2011'August 22, 2008 08:49 US combat troops could leave Iraq by 2011 under the terms of a deal awaiting approval by Iraq's parliament and presidency, an Iraqi official has said.

The draft security agreement also calls for US forces to withdraw from all Iraqi urban areas by June 2009.

The 27-point agreement reportedly includes a compromise allowing US soldiers some immunity under Iraqi law.

The final date when US troops leave will depend largely on security, the BBC's Crispin Thorold in Baghdad says.

The decision will be taken by a joint committee, which could reduce or extend the amount of time US troops spend in the country.

Mohammed al-Haj Hammoud, the top Iraqi official negotiating with the US on the status of US forces in Iraq, said a deal had been agreed that envisaged all US combat troops leaving Iraq by 2011.

Some US troops could remain beyond 2011 "to train Iraqi security forces", the AFP news agency quoted him as saying.

"The combat troops will withdraw from Iraqi cities by June 2009," Mr Hammoud said.
  Book Claims White House Ordered Faked Letter To Tie Saddam And 9/11August 05, 2008 11:25 A new book by author Ron Suskind alleges that the White House ordered the CIA to fabricate a letter purportedly showing links between deposed Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein and the September 11, 2001 attacks.

The book, "The Way of the World," was immediately attacked by the White House, the CIA and former CIA director George Tenet who is alleged to have passed the White House order to senior CIA operators.

"There was no such order from the White House to me nor, to the best of my knowledge, was anyone from CIA ever involved in any such effort," Tenet said in a statement.

In an interview with National Public Radio, Suskind said his account came from the former head of the Near East Division, Rob Richard, and others "right in the thick of this operation."

"Tenet turns to Richard, as he remembers it, and says, 'Listen, Marine' -- Richard is a former marine -- 'you're not going to like this, but here goes."

According to Suskind, the White House gave Tenet a letter to be rewritten in the hand of Tarir Jallil Habbush, a former Iraqi intelligence chief in CIA protective custody after the 2003 US invasion.

The letter, dated July 2001, had Habbush saying Iraq had hosted Mohammed Atta, the lead September 11 hijacker, who "displayed extraordinary effort and showed a firm commitment to lead the team which will be responsible for attacking the targets that we have agreed to destroy," according to the book.

"The idea was to take the letter to Habbush and have him transcribe it in his own neat handwriting on a piece of Iraqi government stationery to make it look legitimate," Suskind wrote.

"CIA would then take the finished product to Baghdad and have someone release it to the media," he wrote.

The July 2001 dated letter surfaced in Britain in December 2003.