Paul Bremer has told a group of Iraqi leaders that the United States would leave Iraq, if the the new Iraqi government requests it, following the June
30th transfer of power. Bremer states that U.S. forces would not stay where they are not welcome. Even though there is a June 30th deadline for
soveriegnty, the U.S. plans to keep a large number of troops in the country for an unknown length of time, which puts doubts in the minds of many
about true soveriegnty for Iraq.
Bremer Tells Iraqi Leaders US Would Leave Iraq if Iraqi Government So Requests
"If the provisional government asks us to leave we will leave," Bremer said, referring to an Iraqi administration due to take power June 30. "I
don't think that will happen, but obviously we don't stay in countries where we're not welcome."
On Thursday, Undersecretary of State Marc Grossman said the new Iraqi government will not have the authority to evict American forces from Iraq,
quickly reversing a statement made minutes earlier before a House of Representatives panel.
Grossman's comments reflect the difficult balance the U.S. government is trying to strike as it moves closer to the June 30 handover.
When first asked by House International Relations Committee members whether an interim Iraqi government could force U.S. troops to leave, Grossman
stressed that Iraqi leaders wanted them to remain. He also said that the Iraqi interim constitution and a U.N. resolution gave them authority to do
Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, a California Republican, kept asking Grossman, "If they ask us to leave, we will leave, will we not?" Pressed for a yes-or-no
answer, Grossman eventually said yes.
But he later agreed with another panelist, Lt. Gen. Walter L. Sharp, that the interim constitution and U.N. resolution gave U.S.-led forces
responsibility for Iraqi security for the immediate future.
With tensions high and the focus on Iraq suddenly turn negative in the eyes of many in the USA and the world, it would seem that we have a bit of
doublespeak happening among US officials in Iraq.
[Edited on 5-14-2004 by worldwatcher]