OFFICIAL VISITS

Robert Gates Swings by Iraq

Looks like it's the beginning of the end: Defense Secretary Robert Gates arrived in Iraq on Tuesday to meet with Iraqi political leaders and American military commanders to discuss security during the U.S. withdrawal. During his first trip to Iraq this year, Gates will meet with Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki and Defense Minister Abdel Qader Jassim. They are expected to discuss Baghdad's interest in buying a squadron of 18 F-16 fighter jets after U.S. forces leave the country; Iraqi officials have expressed interest, but Congress will have the final say. Gates is also expected in the Kurdish region in the North, where Kurds are in dispute with the Arab majority over the oil-rich territory.