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'US wants to hunt foreign fighters in Iraq as part of long-term agreement'
02/01/2008
The United States, determined to prevent a resurgence of terror networks in Iraq, wants to preserve the right to hunt down top foreign fighters, as it negotiates a long-term security agreement with the Iraqis, according to a working draft described to The Associated Press. And, while the agreement will not tie the US to specific troop levels, officials do not rule out including some broad goals for the US military presence there, reflecting the gradual transfer of security responsibilities to Iraqi forces. The closely held draft document foresees a flexible agreement that would allow the US and Iraqi governments to adapt and shift responsibilities as conditions change - a goal seen as critical to both calming resistance from Iraqis who want their country free of US control and giving commanders the needed room to respond to changing violence levels. In particular, it could adjust as attacks increase, decrease or shift to other areas, and as the provincial and national Iraqi government's progress and take on more security responsibilities.
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