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Iraqi Politician Says Military Ready If U.S. Forces Withdraw

BAGHDAD -- Iraq is confident it can police and protect its citizens and borders in the event of a swift withdrawal of U.S. forces, a parliamentary defense and security committee member has told RFE/RL's Radio Free Iraq.

Parliamentarian Abbas al-Bayati said that with 17 army divisions and national and local police forces, Iraq is not worried about a security vacuum in the event of a sudden American pullout.

U.S. President Barack Obama has assured Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki that consultation between the two leaders is a precondition for a U.S. withdrawal.