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US general: In a year, only 50,000 troops in Iraq

SHUAIBA PORT, Kuwait (AP) - The U.S. Army chief of staff says he expects the number of American troops in Iraq to go down to around 50,000 by this time next year.

Gen. George Casey spoke during a brief visit Friday to Kuwait's Shuaiba port which will be playing a key role in the withdrawal of American forces from neighboring Iraq. President Barack Obama has decided to remove all combat troops by the end of August 2010 with all troops gone by the end of 2011.

Gen. Casey said it was too early to say if the recent spike in violence in Iraq will have an impact on the drawdown strategy. He said he expected the security situation there to continue to "ebb and flow" over the next months and years.

Kuwait has been a major ally of Washington since the 1991 Gulf War.

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