The top U.S. commander in Iraq will ask U.S. President George W. Bush to wait until as late as September to decide when to bring home more troops than already scheduled, says a senior administration official.
U.S. General David Petraeus and U.S. Ambassador Ryan Crocker are due to return to Washington from Baghdad in April to report to Congress on how the war-fighting strategy is working and how to proceed on troop-level decisions. The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity said their testimony would come April 8-9.
Petraeus has talked in recent weeks about favoring a "period of assessment" after the currently planned troop withdrawals conclude in mid-July.
He has said a pause seems necessary to give a clearer indication of the impact of those troop cuts before recommending any more.
The official, who briefed reporters at the White House, said Petraeus will recommend in his April report that the pause last for "four to six weeks-ish."