US troops should stay in Iraq for five more years to ensure stability and if they withdraw too soon, the country will slide into civil war, an Iraqi general said Tuesday.
Maj.-Gen. Anwar Mohammed Amin, commander of the Iraqi army's 2nd brigade, said the Iraqi armed forces were not ready to assume major security responsibilities without American support.
"We need the US troops to stay in Iraq for five years in order to maintain stability in this country and to avoid sectarian and ethnic tensions as well," he told reporters. "If the US withdraws now, there would be disaster and civil war."
US officials had been signaling plans for substantial reductions in the 133,000-strong military presence here until the sharp rise in sectarian tensions following the Feb. 22 bombing of a Shiite shrine in Samarra and reprisal attacks against Sunnis.