U.S. General says Iraq vulnerable from the air
US soldiers leaving Iraq for Kuwait
December 7th, 2011
07:05 PM ET

U.S. General says Iraq vulnerable from the air

By CNN's Charley Keyes

The U.S. military is on a carefully orchestrated fast track to the exits in Iraq but a top U.S. General admitted Wednesday that the Iraqis are still vulnerable, especially from the air.

“The Iraqis understand that they have a gap - they have a gap in being able to defend their airspace if someone wanted to come inside that airspace that didn't want to be seen,” Lieutenant General Frank Helmick said. “How they deal with that gap is really up to them.”.

As all U.S. forces complete their withdrawal by the end of the year deadline, Helmick’s could be the last of a series of military briefings beamed from Iraq to the Pentagon briefing room.

As Deputy Commander of U.S. Forces-Iraq, he praised U.S. and Iraqi efforts to build up Iraqi security forces, but pointed to several potential weaknesses.

“There are challenges, external security threats, Iranian- backed militias, Al Qaeda, other violent extremist organizations that the Iraqis must continue to put constant pressure on those groups.” Helmick said. “There are some, still some security gaps that exist: their air sovereignty, their air defense capability, the ability to protect the two oil platforms, and then the ability to do combined arm operations for an external defense, synchronizing their infantry with their armor, with their artillery, with their engineers,” he said. “They're not quite there with that capability.”

He said that for eight years the U.S. military had worked with Iraqi forces to present the country with its freedom. “If I had to define what our greatest legacy is, it would be the concepts of professionalism, confidence, esprit de corps that we've instilled inside the Iraqi security forces, and also the friendships and relationships we've forged with them,” Helmick said.

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Filed under: Iraq • Middle East • Military
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  34. helenecha

    The time is infinite. The responsibility of eliminating the threat from the livings is also infinite. Good job! U.S. troops! Let it be clear that Iraqi government and Iraqis are encouraged from those remarkable efforts.

    December 12, 2011 at 2:03 am | Reply
  35. Maybe

    Maybe that's not really a problem.

    December 9, 2011 at 4:02 pm | Reply
  36. Awabnavi

    20th Stryker Soldier - Did they do that to your mum? Really?

    December 8, 2011 at 9:48 am | Reply
  37. 20th Stryker Soldier is an idiot

    I, as a member of the military would like to say the "20th Stryker Soldier" is stupid and only speaks on behalf of red-neck inbred white trash.

    We destroyed their defense infrastructure and left Iran as the only real military power-house in the region. Now Iraq is vulnerable to their long-time enemy. Prior to the US invasion in 2003, these two states kept each other in check. Not anymore. In the end, we gave more power to Iran.

    December 8, 2011 at 1:34 am | Reply
    • 20th Stryker Soldier

      Dont worry. We will be bringing boots on the ground in Iran very shortly. Not ro mention what we will do to Russia and China. We are the worlds foremost fighting force. USA kicks ass !!!!! GO USA !!!!!

      December 9, 2011 at 12:23 pm | Reply
  38. 20th Stryker Soldier

    This is good news. It means we can bomb and skull fuck these motherfuckers with impunity. Lets bomb the fucking shit out of these ragheads. MOTHERFUCKERS !!!!!

    December 8, 2011 at 12:03 am | Reply
    • 20th Stryker Soldier is an idiot

      Im surprised someone as ignorant as you even knows a word like, "impunity." You are a loser.

      December 8, 2011 at 1:35 am | Reply
    • michaelfury

      http://michaelfury.wordpress.com/2010/04/07/payback/

      December 8, 2011 at 7:55 am | Reply

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