US brigade in Iraq likely heading to Kuwait

By LOLITA C. BALDOR | November 2, 2011 | 5:00 PM EDT

WASHINGTON (AP) — Senior U.S. officials say the Pentagon is poised to move at least 4,000 U.S. forces from Iraq to Kuwait at the end of the year.

The 1st Brigade of the 1st Cavalry Division would move within weeks as part of a still-developing Pentagon strategy that ends the Iraq war but positions a strong U.S. force just across the border.

U.S. officials say the idea is to reinforce America's military commitment in the Middle East and prevent a power vacuum when the tens of thousands of U.S. forces who have served in Iraq are gone.

The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because Defense Secretary Leon Panetta hasn't given final approval.

All but a handful of U.S. forces will leave Iraq by Dec. 31 under terms of a deal with Baghdad.