• Can It Be True? US to Really Leave Iraq?

    October 16, 2011

    Tags: , , ,
    Posted in: Embassy/State, Iran, Iraq, Military

    I’ve read the story twice, three times, and still can’t believe it. It may be a bargaining tool, a threat to force the Iraqis back to the table, or to obtain a concession from the US die, or simply a premature statement, or… or… it may be… true.

    The Associated Press reports the U.S. is abandoning plans to keep troops in Iraq past a year end withdrawal deadline. The decision to pull out fully by January will end more than eight years of U.S. occupation of Iraq, despite ongoing concerns about its security forces and the potential for instability. The decision ends months of hand-wringing by officials over whether to stick to a December 31, 2011 withdrawal deadline that was set in 2008 or continue to occupy Iraq with less boots on the ground.

    AP goes on to say a senior Obama official in Washington confirmed all American troops will leave Iraq except for about 160 active-duty soldiers attached to the U.S. Embassy. A senior U.S. military official confirmed the departure and said the withdrawal could allow future but limited U.S. military training missions in Iraq if requested. Both officials spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue.

    The deal breaker was that Iraqi leaders adamantly refused to give U.S. troops immunity from prosecution in Iraqi courts, and the Americans have refused to stay without it. Prime Minister al-Maliki told the U.S. that he does not have the votes in Iranian-influenced parliament to provide immunity to the American liberators.

    The immunity issue is indeed a big deal, as a continuing American occupation would have to allow for future Abu Ghraib atrocities, the occasional gunning down of innocent Iraqis as in Haditha, the once in a while incidents where tanks ran over kids and of course the off-base rapes of teenagers that characterize American troops abroad.

    An advisor close to al-Maliki said the Americans suggested during negotiations that if no deal is reached in time, U.S. troops could be stationed in Kuwait, where immunity against crimes like torture and rape happily exists.

    As for the World’s Largest Embassy (c), the State Department’s palace by the Tigris, which was supposed to be a seat of empire, a symbol of American power, better hang up a new sign: Fort Apache. Gonna be some hot times to come in the old Green Zone without the US military there protecting our diplomats’ soft hands and tender sensibilities. Better hope the $5 billion the State Department will spend training Iraqi cops pays off quickly.

    If this is indeed true– that all U.S. troops will be withdrawn from Iraq by 12/31/2011– then find me on New Year’s Eve, because the drinks are gonna be on me!



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