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Memo leak

The week's news at a glance.

London

The U.S. and U.K. are planning to withdraw most of their troops from Iraq within the next year, according to a British Defense Ministry memo leaked to the London Mail on Sunday this week. The memo from British Defense Secretary John Reid to Prime Minister Tony Blair, marked “Secret—U.K. Eyes Only,” says that U.S. officials want to “significantly reduce” the American presence in Iraq. It outlines a timetable for cutting the total number of coalition troops from 160,000 to 66,000 by next summer. But it also notes that, unlike political leaders in Washington, U.S. commanders on the ground in Iraq do not believe troops can safely be withdrawn that soon. Pentagon officials refused to comment on the memo, but a spokesman noted that “at any given time, there are a number of plans, for all sorts of developments, good or bad.”

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