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U.S.: Out of Iraq, Into Kuwait

U.S. troops are leaving Iraq by the end of this year, but they aren’t going far. Eight years after U.S. led an invasion to topple Saddam Hussein, Pentagon officials don’t believe the country is stable enough to stand on its own, but the Obama administration pledged to exit the country and Iraq’s government refused to countenance an American military presence on terms acceptable to Washington. So now the army is looking for the next best thing: Kuwait. Officials and diplomats speaking to The New York Times said they want to station a contingent of soldiers in Iraq’s tiny, oil-rich neighbor at the ready to return if Iraq’s internal security situation deteriorates or Iran makes trouble. In addition to a ground presence in Kuwait, terms of which are being negotiated, Washington is considering beefing up its naval presence in the region and expanding military ties with Saudi Arabia and the five other nations of the Gulf Cooperation Council.