This is absolutely incredible news. Iraqis are slowing taking over their own security.
Of course, we have to find this out thru the Australian media, because most of the American media believe that we are losing the war.
Iraq's deputy prime minister says Iraq has an agreement to take over security responsibilities from Australian, British and Japanese forces in southern Iraq this month.
Deputy Prime Minister Salam Zikam Ali al-Zubaie was responding to a Japanese news report that Australia, British and Japanese troops will transfer security responsibilities in southern Iraq to Iraqi authorities next week, and soon withdraw from the area.
"There is an agreement to take over the security responsibilities from the British, Australian and Japanese forces in southern Iraq during this month," al-Zubaie said.
"There is such a plan and such news is not based on nothing. We hope that the Iraqi security forces will live up to their duties there. It is the dream of all Iraqis that our forces will handle security issues all over Iraq."
At a defence meeting of the three countries last week in London, British officials told their counterparts that Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki will announce the transfer of security authority in southern Iraq next Tuesday, Kyodo News agency reported, citing coalition sources.
London will then announce the pullout of its forces from the southern province of Al Muthanna, and Tokyo and Australia will follow with similar announcements, Kyodo said.
Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi is expected to announce a pullout by Japan from the southern city of Samawah as early as next Wednesday, Japanese government and ruling coalition sources said.
Australia is expected to announce plans to pull its forces out of the area the same day.
The withdrawal of Japanese troops is likely to begin later this month and may be completed by the end of July, the sources said.
Officials in the Iraqi prime minister's media office said they could not confirm or deny the report.
Al-Zubaie said he knew nothing about plans for such an announcement and could provide no other details.
Australia has around 460 troops in southern Iraq, where they have been protecting Japanese forces engaged in rebuilding efforts since 2004.
Some Australian troops are expected to be redeployed to the basic training centre at Tallil, near An Nasiriyah in Dhi Qar Province, as well as the Counter Insurgency Academy at Taji, near Baghdad, training Iraqi and coalition troops in tactics to defeat the insurgency.
Let's hope this trend continues and slowly the Iraqis will take over. The Iraqis are embracing freedom. It is a long hard road, but they keep plodding forward. Go Iraqis!!!!!
H/T Free Republic. Once again the people at Free Republic are way ahead of the curve- nice find.