Iraq’s army chief of staff seeks ‘stronger’ ties with Iran

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Mike Mullen bids farewell to Iraqi Gen. Babakir Zebari after meeting at the Joint Visitors Bureau, Baghdad, Iraq, August 2, 2011.

Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta testified before the Senate Armed Services Committee today that “Iraq is ready to handle security without a significant U.S. military footprint.” The same day, an interesting report emerged in Iran’s state media. Multiple sources confirmed that the commander of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), Major General Mohammad Ali Jafari, met Iraqi army chief of staff Lieutenant General Babakir Zebari today in Tehran. This is the Babakir Zebari who declared in August 2010 that the Iraqi army would not be “fully ready” to assume control of Iraq’s security until 2020.

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