Dean Esmay highlights some of the interview answers the President of Iraq. (Full story here.) Check his list out regarding the President’s view of what some call the “chaos” in his country.

I’d like to highlight a couple of other quotes.

When should the U.S. troops leave?

In seven provinces, the American army has withdrawn. The Iraqi army is replacing American forces in many cities. We hope that at the end of this year we will be able to control 12 provinces. We will remain in need of the American and coalition forces until we’ve trained our army and will be able to face terrorism and defeat it.

How long will that be?

I think within two years we will be able to train our army and have the capacity to face terrorism. . . . The presence of American forces — even a symbolic one — will frighten those who are trying to interfere in our affairs.

Not all, I imagine, but enough to make a difference, I’m sure. Seems the Murtha wing of the Democratic Party needs to consider the positive effect our troops are having there.

Now, one of the parties this is supposed to frighten is Iran, and the President says he got “real and serious promises” from them to not meddle in Iraq’s affairs. I’ve got a hefty bit of skepticism there, to be sure. However, there’s no doubt that Iran would consider it open season on Iraq were we to leave completely. Not even President Talabani wants that.

Would you welcome U.S. bases in Kurdistan?

Yes, they are welcome. Kurdistan wants the Americans to stay. In some places Sunnis want the Americans to stay — Sunnis think the main danger is coming from Iran now. There is a change in the mind of the Sunnis. The Sunnis are for having good relations with America. The [Shiites] have started to think that.

Will the U.S. put bases in Kurdistan?

I think we will be in need of American forces for a long time — even two military bases to prevent foreign interference. I don’t ask to have 100,000 American soldiers — 10,000 soldiers and two air bases would be enough. This will be [in] the interest of the Iraqi people and of peace in the Middle East.

Imagine that. Here’s a middle eastern President suggesting that an American presence will promote peace in the region. And which party isn’t willing to do that?

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