"The US commander was confident that the overall timetable for the US pullout would be met. But he added that US combat troops might have to stay beyond June 30 in Mosul and Baqubah, where al-Qaeda retains an active presence. “The two areas I am concerned with are Mosul and then Baqubah and [other] parts of Diyala province,” he said. “We will conduct assessments and provide our assessments when the time is right.”
He added that over the next 12 months “we won’t see a large reduction in any forces in Mosul or Diyala. In fact we might see reinforcements in those areas if we continue to have issues”. Another flashpoint is the ethnically divided city of Kirkuk, on the border of Iraqi Kurdistan, where Arabs and Kurds are at loggerheads. Provincial elections were delayed there because of a disagreement over ownership of the city, a row that also covers towns and villages scattered along the border.
The general agreed that there was a risk of conflict in those areas. “We can’t allow politics, we can’t allow pride, we can’t allow ego to cause violence to occur when you can solve a problem with dialogue.” " Times Online
General Raymond Odierno is not Commander in Chief of the US armed forces. He serves at the will of the president and can be relieved of duty in Iraq and placed on the retired list in his permanent rank of major general any time that Barack Obama chooses to do so. Since full general is a temporary rank that comes with a particular job such a relief would risk retirement in a lower grade. This is true of all four star generals and admirals. They should all remember that, including those who are clever enough to have Ray Odierno run interference for them.
General Odierno's opinion was solicited before the president made a policy decision in regard to Iraq. That decision having been made, it is now General Odierno's duty to carry out the policy or ask to be relieved and retired. He could then run for president, an office in which he would have the authority and power under law and the Constitution to set policy for generals to carry out.
Odierno's wife is quoted in this piece as saying that he did not want to be a professional soldier. He wanted to be a professional football player, and was thwarted in that ambition by an injury. A pity.
He commanded the 4th Infantry Division in Iraq early in the war. The "Ivy" Division under his command was notorious for the heavy handed clumsiness of its operations and was generally thought to have contributed significantly to the growth of the Sunni insurgency. Now he is a "fan" of the COIN methodology. Well, why not? It's the "in" thing these days.
He will probably be Chief of Staff of the Army soon. pl