U.S. troops unlikely to resume combat duties in Iraq.

It would take "a complete failure" of the Iraqi security…

It would take “a complete failure” of the Iraqi security forces for the U.S. to resume combat operations there, the top American commander in Iraq said as the final U.S. fighting forces prepared to leave the country.

With a major military milestone in sight, Gen. Ray Odierno said in interviews broadcast Sunday that any resumption of combat duties by American forces is unlikely.

“We don’t see that happening,” Odierno said. The Iraqi security forces have been doing “so well for so long now that we really believe we’re beyond that point.”

President Barack Obama plans a major speech on Iraq after his return to Washington, according to a senior administration official who spoke on condition of anonymity Sunday because details were being finalized. The speech will come shortly after Obama returns to the White House on Aug. 29 from his Martha’s Vineyard vacation.

About 50,000 U.S. troops will remain in the country until the end of 2011 to serve as a training and assistance force, a dramatic drawdown from the peak of more than 170,000 during the surge of American forces in 2007.

Source: Lolita C. Baldor for AP News.

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