Tuesday, May 24, 2011


Dar Addustour reports that the US State Dept's Deputy for Democracy and Global Affairs Maria Otero arrived Monday in Baghdad and a Kurdish MP says there is movement towards extending the SOFA and keeping US forces in Iraq past 2011. Ayas Hossam Acommok (Al Mada) reports that "a high political level" unnamed source with State Of Law (Nouri's political slate) is stating that the Iraqi government has decided to extend the current agreement and not seek a new one. The source states that between 20,000 and 25,000 US troops will remain in Iraq and that Iraq will declare they need 13,000 to help with logistics and training while at least 5,000 will be said to be needed by the US Embassy. These particulars, the source states, will be reviewed with the political blocs over the next ten days.

Aswat al-Iraq reports Muzhir Hassan, Anbar Province Council member, is calling for "the extension of the U.S. troops presence in Iraq" and stating "a security vacuum" will emerge if they withdraw.

Former US State Dept spokesperson Philip J. Crowley feels he has the answer and serves it up at The Daily Beast:

Rather than retaining tens of thousands of troops at permanent bases, at great expense, the military can rotate units into Iraq for regular training exercises. The United States did this routinely in the region while containing Iraq and Iran prior to 2003.
Beyond the financial cost of long-term overseas deployments, we can no longer ignore the stress that this places on the volunteer force. The Iraq campaign didn’t start in 2003. Our military has been continuously deployed in and around Iraq since August 1990. It is time to bring the troops home.

I like PJ but I'm not getting how if your argument is that extending the SOFA can be seen as a betrayal, a stunt such as the one suggested above is anymore noble? (My call was and remains: All troops out now.)

In related news, Amanda Kim Stairrett (Killeen Daily Herald) reports on the 1st Cavalry Division's 2nd Brigade Combat Team, "This is the fourth time the brigade has deployed to Iraq, and once there in its entirety, it will uncase its colors and be known as the 2nd Advise and Assist Brigade. Flights carrying 2nd Brigade soldiers to Iraq are set to continue through May."

The following community sites -- plus Antiwar.com, Chocolate City and Babylon & Beyond -- updated last night and this morning:

David Bacon's latest book is Illegal People -- How Globalization Creates Migration and Criminalizes Immigrants (Beacon Press) which won the CLR James Award. We'll close with this from Bacon's "CITY WORKER BARGAINING RIGHTS UNDER SIEGE IN SILICON VALLEY" (Truth Out):

Members of the city workers union in San Jose, the capital of California's Silicon Valley, marched Tuesday to City Hall and packed the council chambers, in a growing confrontation with Mayor Chuck Reed over proposed budget cuts. Yolanda Cruz, president of Local 101 of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, spoke to a rally of hundreds of union members in a church behind City Hall. The union will fight, she said, not just the imposition of drastic service reductions, but also the Mayor's threat to go to the ballot with a measure to require an election every time city workers want a raise or benefit increase.

"We will not be forced to pay for the city's economic crisis with our bargaining rights," she declared. Cruz was supported by the union's national secretary treasurer, Lee Saunders. He compared Reed to Scott Walker, the governor of Wisconsin, who rammed a measure through that state's legislature drastically curtailing public worker union rights. "They think they can bring Wisconsin to California," Saunders thundered to an angry crowd. "That's just not going to happen." The church exploded in cheers.

Later union members marched to City Hall for a second rally with community supporters. Cindy Chavez, former city council member and now executive secretary of the South Bay Labor Council, told union members that the rest of Silicon Valley's labor movement would give them the same support public workers in Wisconsin received from unions throughout the country.

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