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Page last updated at 07:39 GMT, Thursday, 12 August 2010 08:39 UK

Iraq pull-out will leave US 'the laughing stock of the world'

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The US is on course to pull out of Iraq by the end of the month, but is the country ready to stand on its own?

Speaking to Hugh Sykes in the country, one US soldier said that leaving now would leave his country "the laughing stock of the world".

"We went in there, broke a lot of things, we've got to stay with it until it's fixed," he said.

Dr Faleh Abdul Jabar, of the Iraq Institute for Strategic Studies, agreed that withdrawal now would send the wrong signals.

"This would be a huge opening of opportunity for the collapse of stability and the revival of insurgency," he said.

But Major General Tim Cross suggested that this should not be considered the start of the withdrawal, but rather one point on a process that had been going on "for some time".

After all, he argued, 50,000 US troops would be remaining in the country for 15 months following this phase.

"50,000 troops is more than we had during the initial invasion," he said.


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