Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates said Monday that it "probably does make sense"
to pause troop withdrawals from Iraq late this summer after the last of the
forces sent in as part of an offensive surge have gone home.
Gates told reporters traveling with him in Baghdad that he was leaning toward recommending "a brief period of consolidation and evaluation" before further reducing the number of U.S. troops in Iraq, according to a Defense Department release.
He spoke a day after a series of bombings targeting Iraqi security
forces and U.S.-backed Sunni guards killed as many as 37 people in northern
Iraq. The violence continued Monday, with two suicide car bombs detonating
outside the compound of a top Sunni tribal leader, Ali Hatam al-Suleiman,
killing at least eight people and wounding 23.
General Petraeus echoes the sentiment.