[워싱턴=AP/KNS뉴스통신] 미군이 금년 말 철수를 앞두고 있는 이라크에 최근 이란으로부터 살상무기가 흘러들어 가고 있어서 미국 당국을 긴장시키고 있다.
미국 합창의장 마이크 물렌 총독은 최근 몇 개월 동안 이란당국이 인식하고 있는 가운데 철갑 관통 폭탄과 수제 폭탄이 시아파 극단주의자들 손으로 들어가고 있다고 말했다.
최근 이라크에서 두 명의 미군 병사가 도로변에서 폭탄 테러로 사망한 것과 관련해 합참의장은 미 국방부 기자회견에서 이락의 안정이 필수적인 시기에 미군의 철수와 동시에 이란 무기의 유입으로 미군의 안보위협이 되고 있다는 우려를 나타냈다.
그는 미군의 이라크 주둔과 관련해 앞으로 2년에서 3년간은 중요한 시기라고 말하고 최근 8,500명에서 10,000명 선에서 협상이 진행되고 있다고 말했다.
More lethal Iranian weapons entering Iraq
WASHINGTON (AP) — Weapons flowing from Iran into Iraq are becoming more lethal and sophisticated, the top U.S. military officer said Thursday as Washington and Baghdad negotiate over whether American troops will remain in the country beyond the end of the year.
Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said the delivery of armor-piercing explosives and airborne homemade bombs to Shiite extremists has increased significantly in recent months, all with the full knowledge of top Iranian government officials.
His comments came as a roadside bomb killed two American soldiers outside the main U.S. military base in Baghdad on Thursday, just days after the close of the deadliest month in Iraq for U.S. troops in two years.
Speaking to the Pentagon Press Association, Mullen said stability in Iraq is vital in the region. But he stopped short of saying the withdrawal of U.S. forces in Iraq, coupled with the rising number of Iranian weapons, would make the country a national security risk for the U.S.
And while Mullen would not detail any U.S. proposals for keeping troops in Iraq beyond this year, he said, "There are needs that will continue for some time." He added, however, that "we're not talking forever. (It would be) over the next two or three years or something like that."
The 46,000 U.S. troops in Iraq are scheduled to leave by the end of the year under an agreement with Baghdad. There has been a continuing expectation that some U.S. forces would have to stay to train and assist the Iraqis as they improve their air defenses and logistics.
The U.S. is offering to keep between 8,500 and 10,000 troops in Iraq, according to U.S. officials, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue. Baghdad has yet to make a formal request, and Iraqi leaders are not expected to decide until September at the earliest.
U.S. officials have been complaining publicly that they need a request from Baghdad soon so they can determine how to move forward with the withdrawal and what would be required for the troops that might remain.
Negotiations with the Iraqis, Mullen said, involve both the number of U.S. troops that would stay, as well as the capabilities they believe they need covered, which also includes gathering and disseminating intelligence. Asked how the discussions have gone, Mullen would only say "it's hard."
김희광 기자 email@example.com