[Marxism] US troops in Iraq until who knows when -- Iran main threat (i.e, target)

Fred Feldman ffeldman at verizon.net
Thu Jul 7 16:04:46 MDT 2011

Published on The Nation (http://www.thenation.com)
Troops in Iraq in 2013? 
Robert Dreyfuss | July 6, 2011

The government of Iraq, at the highest level, is reportedly meeting this
week to consider whether or not to allow a substantial number of US troops
to remain in Iraq beyond the end of 2011, when they're scheduled to depart.

That scheduled departure isn't President Obama's timetable; rather it is the
result of a framework established in 2008 by George W. Bush. Nevertheless,
the United States would like to maintain forces in Iraq, and dangerously
it's looking more and more like their mission would be to confront Iran.

Yesterday Mr. Surge, Senator John McCain, said [1]that the United States
ought to keep at least 13,000 troops in Iraq indefinitely. "I'm talking
10,000-13,000 specifically for intelligence capabilities, air capabilities
and also as a peacekeeping force up in the disputed areas around Kirkuk and
that area. I think there is a compelling case."

McCain added, speaking with the Financial Times [1]:

"The United States has got to come forth with our proposal as to what we
think they need and then I believe that it's very possible - and I emphasize
possible - that the Iraqis could then decide unanimously that they want the
residual US presence, which would certainly be non-combat and would
certainly be largely technical."

It isn't like McCain is alone. The Obama administration, too, would like to
keep troops in Iraq [2]. But Prime Minister Maliki is under enormous
pressure from Iran, from Iran-allied forces in Iraq, and from some Iraqi
nationalists not to allow a residual US role, and his coalition partner,
Muqtada al-Sadr, is staunchly opposed. In recent weeks, there has been a
strong increase in violence directed against American forces in Iraq, and
much of it is apparently directed or supported by a host of Iranian-backed
Shia militias, including Kataib Hezbollah, Ahl ul-Haq, and Sadr's Promised
Day Brigade. Yesterday, a top American general and the US ambassador both
blamed Iran. Said Ambassador James Jeffrey:

"There is no doubt this is Iranian. We're seeing more lethal weapons, more
accurate weapons, more longer-range weapons. And we're seeing more
sophisticated mobile and other deployment options, we're seeing better
trained people."

General Lloyd Austin said that the stuff is "coming in from Iran, we're
certain of that."

Maliki has ordered a sweeping crackdown against Sadr's forces and other Shia
militias in Baghdad, in Maysan province near the border with Iran, and
elsewhere. But Maliki, too, is closely tied to Iran, and he's trying to
balance strong pressure from Washington and Tehran. A major failure of the
Obama administration has been its inability to reach an agreement with Iran
on stabilizing Iraq, and Iran is not above using pressure tactics in Iraq
against the United States.


Source URL: http://www.thenation.com/blog/161819/us-troops-iraq-2013

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