In the democratic sovereign nation of Iraq, where the will of the people is that US (foreign) troops LEAVE, then, the US, long a supporter of Democractic Sovereign Nations, will abide by the people's will and leave (sneak out in the darnkness of night).
Politics in Iraq Casts Doubt on a U.S. Presence After 2011
By STEVEN LEE MYERS, THOM SHANKER and JACK HEALY
This article was reported by Steven Lee Myers, Thom Shanker and Jack Healy and written by Mr. Myers.
What about the Mercs?
BAGHDAD — The protracted political turmoil that saw the resurgence of a fiercely anti-American political bloc here is casting new doubt on establishing any enduring American military role in Iraq after the last of nearly 50,000 troops are scheduled to withdraw in the next 12 months, military and administration officials say.
Given Iraq’s military shortcomings, especially in air power, intelligence coordination and logistics, American and Iraqi officials had long expected that some American military presence, even if only in an advisory role, would continue beyond 2011. That is the deadline for a troop withdrawal negotiated under President George W. Bush more than three years ago and adhered to, so far, by President Obama.Did we really think that Obama could abrogate a GWB agreed to treaty? Or that he might even try?
Even as contingency planning for any lasting American mission has quietly continued in Baghdad and at the Pentagon, however, the shifting political landscape in both countries has made it increasingly possible that the 2011 withdrawal could truly be total, the officials said. Both Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki of Iraq and Mr. Obama, struggling to retain the support of their political bases, have repeated their public vows to adhere to the deadline.Good, guys. You adhere.
The military and administration officials emphasized in interviews that the White House had made no final decision on whether any troops might remain beyond the scheduled withdrawal — and that it would not even consider one unless asked by Mr. Maliki’s government.F@ck the military and administration officials.
The question is so politically delicate — here and in Washington — that officials would speak only on condition of anonymity. Further, they say the topic has not been broached in detail even in recent private meetings between senior Iraqi and American officials, including one in Baghdad last week between Mr. Maliki and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Adm. Mike Mullen.Ostrich people hide their heads in the sand.
“Maliki can’t start asking right now for a large, extended American footprint,” a senior administration official said. “First of all, there is no Maliki government. And second, it would introduce a hugely controversial issue just when he doesn’t need it.”Ahem. There already IS a large, extended American footprint in Iraq. And will be for quite some time.
It could remain so for many more months, even after Mr. Maliki completes his cabinet of ministers and submits it to the new Parliament, now scheduled to happen within a week. That has raised anxieties among American officials and military commanders presiding over what the Obama administration calls a “responsible drawdown” to end the American war here.What the ones who are really concerned about the troops are most worried about is a scenario where the Iraqi's gun down 'Murican troops as they are exiting. Perhaps the most implausible scenario possible.
They are already planning a steady reduction of troops and bases, which will begin in earnest by spring and is to reach zero by this time next year. Those plans have been complicated by the uncertainty over what troops will replace them — or whether any will at all.Replace them? You mean in the green zone? Halliburton's Army, who elxe?
“They’re going to have to sort their way through that,” Maj. Gen. Terry A. Wolff, the departing commander of American forces in central Iraq, said in an interview, referring to administration officials. “At this point, I just don’t know. I don’t know how that’s going to look in 2012.”Campaign issue. Barack Obama can run saying, "I pulled the troops out of Iraq."
After parliamentary elections in March led to a protracted period of deadlock and deal-making, Mr. Maliki now leads an unwieldy coalition with parties pursuing conflicting agendas, including lawmakers allied with Moktada al-Sadr, a Shiite cleric in exile whose fighters actively battled against American and Iraqi forces until they were routed in 2008.Yes. Moktada al-Sadr MUST be included in all such talks. He will be THE power in IRAQ for decades to come.
Their new partnership, which propelled Mr. Maliki’s nomination to a second term, will make it politically risky for him to now reverse himself. Even Ayad Allawi, the leader of a multisectarian bloc who has long been supportive of the Americans, said in an interview last week that there was not yet any consensus among Iraqi leaders to request an extension of the American military presence.Absolutely correctly. The foreign (American / NATO / Mercs in country have the very disturbing habit of raping young Iraqi girls and then burning their victims plus the victims family alive; to destroy the evidence.)
A growing confidence in Iraq’s security forces, coupled with national pride, has also become a factor. Mr. Maliki and others have adamantly ruled out the need for foreign troops to help the country protect itself.
That may reflect a degree of political posturing, but officials in both militaries point to the maturing capabilities of Iraq’s army and federal police, which now conduct day-to-day security without a great deal of direct American involvement.Hire Jeff Huber. Even though he's a Navy guy, he can do it better and cheaper than any other American with whom Maliki is likely to consult.
A spokesman for the Ministry of Defense, Maj. Gen. Mohammed al-Askari, said in an interview that the American military role in Iraq “must take another shape,” providing training and weaponry, but not necessarily American boots on the ground.
“We are different than Afghanistan,” the general said, noting the comparative maturity of Iraq’s government ministries, including those overseeing security.
Among Iraqis, the question of the American military presence is deeply conflicted, and often nuanced. Many loathe what they view as a foreign occupying force, even as some consider the Americans a reassuring bulwark against insurgent attacks and simmering ethnic disputes.
Along the internal border between Iraq’s Kurds and Arabs, for example, American soldiers continue to operate checkpoints jointly with troops from both sides, defusing potential clashes.Live and let live.
Assad Ismail, a local council president in Sadiya, a village along the disputed territories northeast of Baghdad, said that only the Americans were able to settle a recent dispute that flared when Iraqi soldiers trying to restrict the movement of insurgents closed off local farmers’ access to their date palms, tomatoes and peanuts.
“Thank God, the American Army was with us,” Mr. Ismail said. “We want them to stay for 5 or 10 years.”A very small sample size.
The administration has already drawn up plans for an extensive expansion of the American Embassy and its operations, bolstered by thousands of security contractors. The embassy in Baghdad, two satellite offices in Mosul and Kirkuk, and two consulates in Erbil and Baghdad are scheduled to take over most of more than 1,000 tasks now carried out by the American military.
Militarily, at a minimum, the administration plans to create an Office of Security Cooperation that, like similar ones in countries like Egypt, would be staffed by civilians and military personnel overseeing the training and equipping of Iraq’s security forces. Privately, officials say the Iraqis needed such an office if they hope to continue purchasing and learning how to use M1A1 tanks, F-16 fighter jets and other equipment necessary to rebuild the country’s shattered armed forces.
The officials said that a small office would not require a new security agreement with the Iraqi government to replace the existing one, but the size of the office now under active consideration — with as many as 1,000 personnel — certainly would, even without a larger contingent of American troops in bases around Iraq after 2011.
While officials said there was still time in the coming months to negotiate with the Iraqis, if they want to, the deadline was rapidly approaching.
“I think everybody understands we can’t wait until the end of the year, and also that whatever agreement we are going to reach, we need to start working on that as soon as possible,” Admiral Mullen said in an interview after meeting with Mr. Maliki in Baghdad. “There’s a finite amount of time. There is a physics problem with this, a mechanical problem, to physically move people and equipment out.”
At the same time, American commanders have also begun to acknowledge that the United States might in fact be able to leave Iraq to handle its own security, something almost unthinkable only a few years ago. Even shortcomings like control of its airspace and electronic surveillance could, in theory, be covered using American aircraft based elsewhere in the Persian Gulf, they say.
“There’s no doubt you can get to zero,” General Wolff said, noting that critics questioned the consequences of reducing the number of troops to 50,000 from more than 140,000 when Mr. Obama took office.
“The president’s given us direction, and the answer is zero,” he said. “So that’s where we’re going.”
Others are skeptical, saying that the United States should not risk the failure of a struggling democracy by adhering religiously to the withdrawal.Just who in the h#ll ARE these "Others" who "are skeptical?"
“We don’t yet know whether Iraq’s new government will be friendly enough to want a strategic partnership, or stable and effective enough to make one work,” Anthony Cordesman, a security analyst at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, wrote in a recent report. “What we do know is that Iraq is far from over its internal problems, and we have not yet won anything in grand strategic terms.
“If we don’t maintain strong presence,” he continued, “if the State Department does not have sufficient funding to aid Iraq in improving its economy and governance, if Defense cannot maintain a strong advisory presence and offer aid to Iraq in rebuilding its military forces to the point where it can defend the nation, we throw away any chance at turning what has so far been a tactical victory into one that has any lasting meaning.”