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Is Iraq being hung out to dry?

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posted on Jul, 4 2010 @ 09:50 AM
Vice President, Joe Biden, and his wife Jill along with Senators Joe Lieberman (I) Ct., John McCain R AZ, and Lindsey Graham R SC will be celebrating the 4th of July holiday with troops in Iraq. No doubt, the crust of the visit is President Obama’s scheduled draw down and the complete withdrawal of US forces by 2011. At present, levels are scheduled to reach 50,000 non-combat troops at the end of August.

However, as US forces pack their bags and leave; Iraq has been ever so slightly descending into chaos with a government in gridlock as of the March parliamentary elections. Ghastly political killings, and vicious bombings are becoming increasingly common. It seems the marching orders of the Administration is withdrawal at all costs while steering clear of violence and pitfalls outside the wire? Furthermore, any progress made in Iraq’s emerging stability and democratic endeavors is eroding as the US looks on with apathy. President Barack Obama has only visited the country once since becoming Commander-in-Chief.

Biden’s trip came on the heels of concerns from western analysts and Iraqi politicians of lack of interest about Iraq’s future by the United States.

Biden visits Baghdad amid political impasse

“A distant policy in this country is deemed as a weakness and also deemed as a failure,’’ said Fawzi Hariri, Iraq’s minister of industry. “It gives the wrong message to Syria and Iran, and it will give the wrong message to the Taliban.’’

Iraqi officials see U.S. as neglecting the country

The pressure to shift resources to Afghanistan is so great that Washington's Iraq strategy seems to be based on a song and a prayer, said Joost Hiltermann, an Iraq expert with the International Crisis Group think tank.

This could be a carefully crafted ploy by the Obama Administration for political capital before the 2012 elections? Moreover, for the Presidents’s own political ambitions; is he leaving the fledgling nation of Iraq who has made significant inroads toward progress and stability to the wolves? In other words, his political survival at all costs, regardless of all the death and destruction left in its wake? The power struggle taking place between sitting Prime Minister, Nouri Al-Maliki, and his supporters and former Prime Minister, Ayad Allawi, and his party, Iraqiya, which is largely Sunni supported has brought future economic development to a halt and severely threatens stability.

Allawi believes he should have the role of Prime Minister because his party narrowly defeated Al Maliki’s in parliamentary elections last March. Moreover, the sitting Prime Minister joined sides with other Shia parties in what appears to be a tactic to give him the seats needed to overrule the victory held by Iraqiya?

Sectarian animosity still prevails

. . .though a party strongly backed by the Sunni Arab minority narrowly won the most votes and seats in the March election, the two biggest mainly Shia alliances, which came second and third, have agreed to gang up in a wider front to form a ruling coalition in which the Sunnis may not play much of a part. Since the two main Shia alliances teamed up only recently, it is unclear whether the constitution should treat them as the election winners and give them first shot at forming a government.

The two are so bitterly opposed to each other that they have only met face to face to work out differences in June and over three-months since the elections. So, as they grovel with one another on who should succeed; violence, carnage, and barbarity are ruling Iraqi towns and cities. The northern Iraqi city of Mosul has been particularly hard for Allawi’s supporters, and attacks are largely targeted assassinations.

Killers Stalk Politicians as Iraq Seeks Government

Some 150 politicians, civil servants, tribal chiefs, police officers, Sunni clerics and members of Awakening Councils have been assassinated throughout Iraq since the election — bloodshed apparently aimed at heightening turmoil in the power vacuum created by more than three months without a national government.

During the past 72 hours alone, at least eight Iraqi police officers, an Iraqi Army general, a government intelligence official, a member of an Awakening Council, a tribal sheik, and a high ranking staff member of Baghdad’s local government have all been assassinated in either Baghdad or Mosul.

Goons from both sides have gotten so brazen that they are even murdering entire families of the opposition in vicious and maniacal ways.

Iraqi campaign worker killed along with wife, six children

Assailants burst into the home of an Iraqi campaign volunteer before dawn Monday, fatally shooting the man before they stabbed his pregnant wife and their five daughters to death, relatives and authorities said. A sixth child, the only son, was found hanging from a ceiling fan with key arteries severed, a cousin said.

Al-Qaeda in Iraq is showing some signs of a resurgence as a result of government crisis and the US insistence on withdrawal by 2011. Massive bombings have resumed, although not on par with pre surge levels, but there is an up-tick. One of the bloodiest days took place in May. More than a hundred people were killed in coordinated bombings.

For the most part, Iraqi/US Forces had Al-Qaeda on their backs and on the run. If confusion in the central government continues; they will exploit it and grow stronger. We are seeing it take place with attacks like the one above and others before and the ones that have followed. As a matter of fact, on the day of Biden’s recent visit, a suicide bomber attacked a heavily fortified government compound in Ramadi.

Four die in Iraq suicide bomb attack: ministry

At least four people were killed and 23 others wounded, including women and children, by a female suicide bomber at the entrance to the provincial government building, an interior ministry official said.

However, recently, Commander of US Forces in Iraq, Ray Odierno, believes the threat of Al-Qaeda in Iraq is in the midst of being neutralized and the attacks are a sign of desperation.

General Odierno: Al Qaeda in Iraq faces serious financial crunch

AQI appears to have become increasingly disconnected from Al Qaeda's central leadership in Afghanistan and Pakistan – and fighting to remain influential. To him, Al Qaeda's lack of announcement regarding new leadership in Iraq after top AQI figures Abu Ayub al-Masri and Abu Omar al-Baghdadi were killed this spring indicates that Al Qaeda headquarters considers the weakened organization here to be much less relevant.

“You have decentralized [AQI] cells that are attempting to continue to execute the last orders given – I think bank robberies and other things are a sign that the funding has been cut,” he said. Odierno, in some of the first detailed comments on AQI's operations, said extortion fees from truck drivers and other parts of the oil distribution network had provided a major part of the organization's revenue, along with payments from major companies such as cellphone carriers.

I am looking at these statements as inline with marching orders from Washington? Of course he is going to see the biggest enemy of the US on the ropes in Iraq, because nothing stalls the President’s withdrawal. We must remember he has a reelection too win in 2012. Moreover, the situation on the ground seems far more serious than what he is making it out to be? With a lame-duck government, criminals are going to exploit it. With that, I think the terrorists are still around and as strong as ever.

In essence, it seems Iraq is leaderless at the moment? If the US remains silent on this political stalemate and refuses to take a more aggressive approach in hastening compromise between the feuding political parties? Iraq’s neighbors, Syria and Iran, will be more than happy to fill the void. Then the world has yet again another puppet regime in the Middle East doing the bidding of others rather than the bidding of their own.

Personally, I have been quite impressed with how the normal Iraq people have come forward to see that their country has a bright future. I am impressed by the videos I have seen of the Iraqi Army in action after taking over from the US. However, if the Iraqi politicians continue too think only of their own political ambitions at the expense of the country? All progress is lost, and everything goes back to square one. The only problem is, countless Iraqis have been killed, the country’s infrastructure is destroyed, thousands of US service members have lost their lives, and about a trillion taxpayer dollars has been spent on the war. How much is a reelection campaign worth and at what costs?

Iraqi officials see U.S. as neglecting the country

U.S. officials in Washington acknowledge that the Iraq mission is winding down, and often add that they expect the Obama administration to get credit for executing an orderly exit. A senior administration official said in an interview that the withdrawal should win favor in the Muslim world.

It seems blatantly obvious to me that the Iraq withdrawal is a reelection talking point. The lack of interest in Iraq could prove costly. If the trend continues, it will threaten a long-term strategic partnership between the US and Iraq, and possibly opening the door for a rival in the region or elsewhere to fill the void? In case anyone forgot, Iraq continues to struggle for its independence and self-preservation as the US moves forward with its withdrawal.

[edit on 7/5/2010 by semperfortis]

posted on Jul, 4 2010 @ 10:03 AM
No. Obama has plans. He's not abandoning Iraq or Afghanistan.

President Barack Obama says U.S. troops are carrying too much of the burden in Iraq and Afghanistan and doing too many things that are more appropriate for civilians, such as building schools and setting up justice systems.

Obama says the problem is that the U.S. doesn't have a civilian effort as large as the military.He wants to change that by building up a "civilian expeditionary force" that can go into an area once the U.S. military deems it safe to do the work of building roads, bridges and schools and setting up civil societies. Source

Okay, that's half sarcastic. I understand where you are coming from. In essence, there's been no progress. None. All those lives lost and all that destruction, and if we were to abandon Iraq altogether, they would be far worse off than before we went in there.

But we all know we will never really "abandon" Iraq or the state of the art American Embassy there. There will forever be American presence there.

However, should America get into Iran, all bets are off.

posted on Jul, 4 2010 @ 10:28 AM
reply to post by ~Lucidity

Your are right on all fronts. No one builds a billion dollar fortress in a country were they are leaving altogether. Still, the President seems dead set on this withdrawal, and for what looks like political reasons. He is trying to get brownie points among his base and the anti-war crowd. As long as he follows through with withdrawal, the media machine will do the rest, and will make it out as the military achievements ever. They will package it and sell regardless of the security situation and misery for the Iraqi people.

Nothing has really changed, but it was starting to get a little better. I saw more than a few brights spots and steps in the right direction, but if nothing is doing to bring the political parties together, Iraq will be torn apart in no time. It would be a shame to see Iraq go to the dogs after all the sacrifice in treasure and manpower to ensure that it does not. Thanks for the reply!

posted on Jul, 4 2010 @ 12:15 PM
It is ironic that pulling the troops out of Iraq(along with the associated monies going for the cause) is seen as political 'brownie points', while not funding American unemployed is seen by some as too bad, we don't have the money.

I, for one, don't mind hanging them out to dry.

We can't afford it.

Nothing political about that. We just can't afford it.

Nothing personal, but we just don't have the money for these unfunded wars.

If we can't give our own people funds to live on when they are down, why spend as an occupying army on people on the other side of the globe?

Pull them out, spend those billions over here on deficit reduction.

posted on Jul, 4 2010 @ 11:29 PM

Originally posted by ErEhWoN
It is ironic that pulling the troops out of Iraq(along with the associated monies going for the cause) is seen as political 'brownie points', while not funding American unemployed is seen by some as too bad, we don't have the money.

Yes, funding the American unemployed is crucial and necessary. However, this depression has been going on with no end in sight. Perhaps, as you say, we are running out of money? How long can they keep extending benefits? Indefinitely? I agree the US economy is in terrible shape and getting worse by the day. Still, I find this withdrawal as a focal point on the President's political agenda and a crucial element to his legacy. Is it not odd that the withdrawal is scheduled to take place only a year before he is up for reelection? If that is not a hint at political posturing, then I don't know what is?

Violence is ascending across the country and there is turmoil among the political parties in forming a coalition government which has become fanatical. Politicians are murdering each other in the streets, and have killed or maimed civilians as well. Then Al Qaeda is having a resurgence and starting another destabilization campaign. There is also an energy crisis taking place as well. Electricity is still off most of the day, and people are upset about it.

There was billions earmarked for Iraqi reconstruction. Why on this green earth are these people still using obsolete electrical grids? I remember in March when Iraqis braved the threats and intimidation to go out and vote. The Iraqi security forces are in much better shape than they were and have taken over the security responsibilities from the US. This is a country that has a shot at success, but all of it can be for nothing if the US does not engage the political crisis. Someone has to act as mediator. It seems the US is only intent on withdrawal? Would you leave a new born baby to a pack of hungry wolves and walk away? That is how I see the situation in Iraq.

Originally posted by ErEhWoN
I, for one, don't mind hanging them out to dry.

We can't afford it.

Nothing political about that. We just can't afford it.

Nothing personal, but we just don't have the money for these unfunded wars.

If we can't give our own people funds to live on when they are down, why spend as an occupying army on people on the other side of the globe?

Pull them out, spend those billions over here on deficit reduction.

I disagree with you about hanging them out to dry, because I see them taking the torch to self-reliance and democracy. The people seem to be trying, and braving chaos to see that their country succeeds. Where would we be without the assistance of the French at our trying time during the Revolutionary War? It may have ended badly, and our Founding Fathers would have been brought back to London and hung as traitors.

Iraq is on the cusp of success, and for the US to back away now would be devastating. I am not saying cancel the withdrawal, or bringing the troops out of their bases. However, there needs to be more said by the President and the US government about the political crisis and corruption among members of the Iraqi government. I see neglect on the part of the Obama Administration. It is widely accepted that he has other more pressing issues on the agenda at present, but this one is as important as any.

This is a real shot at having a long-term strategic partner and thriving democracy in the center of the Middle East. Therefore, we cannot afford to go forward with a mediocre disposition toward Iraq. Millions of people in Iraq have died, the country is destroyed, over three-thousand US service members have been killed, and about a trillion US tax dollars have been spent on the war. It is now time to get the most out of that sacrifice, and not waste the efforts of so many who helped get Iraq this far.

[edit on 5-7-2010 by Jakes51]

posted on Jul, 5 2010 @ 02:18 PM
reply to post by Jakes51

I see Biden visiting Iraq as multiple levels of diplomacy going on, Jakes51.

1) To ensure moral is stable in Iraq in our troops after McChrystal's screw-up in Afghanistan.

2) To speak with the heads of military forces there, feeling out for any more "McChrystal's" in hiding.

3) Through politics ensure that Obama is represented in Iraq by Biden's appearance.

That is all surface level diplomacy though to me as it handles Iraq and Obama's Administration.

Ultimately, guaranteeing Biden assists in Obama getting re-elected, in 2012.

Not that this will necessarily happen, of course, but it is to gain political points in the polls.

As well, any forces being pulled out of Iraq, have a potential for being sent to Afghanistan.

And or being sent back to Iraq should their Government ask for our assistance.

Ultimately, it is Biden, billowing out hot air, on behalf of Obama.

Nothing different, same standard and stale politics, nothing new to see here.

Move along people.

The role of President and Vice-President are to ensure foreign and domestic policy works.

Biden is operating on America's foreign policy interests in Iraq, period.

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