Wednesday, September 07, 2011

The Iraq War beyond 2011?

Al Mada reports that KRG President Massoud Barzani is stating that civil war is likely if US troops withdraw from Iraq at the end of this year. Barzani was speaking yesterday at a conference in Erbil and stressing the KRG position that US forces remain needed in Iraq. He further stated that this was the opinion of all political blocs in Iraq and discussed away from the microphones; however, for public consumption, few are willing to speak honestly. Bazani noted the issue of the Constitution's Article 140 which calls for the resolving on the Kirkuk issue. By end of 2007, a census and referendum were supposed to have taken place to determine the fate of the oil-rich and disputed Kirkuk. However, Nouri al-Maliki refused to follow the Constitution and, all these years later, no referendum has been held, no census taken. He also called out Nouri al-Maliki's refusal to follow the Erbil Agreement.

Background, following the March 7, 2010 parliamentary elections, Iraq entered Political Stalemate I -- a nine month period where nothing was accomplished. The blocs met in Erbil at the start of November 2010 to hammer out an agreement, the Erbil Agreement, which provided the various political blocs with at least one win each. For example, State of Law came in second but their leader Nouri al-Maliki was allowed to retain the position of prime minister. Once the Erbil Agreement was agreed to, Parliament held a session and began moving forward. Iraqiya came in first in the March 2010 elections and at the session of Parliament, a number of their members walked out when it became obvious to them that the Erbil Agreement was tossed into the trash by Nouri once he was named prime minister-designate. Those Iraqiya members were not mistaken about what was happening. By the end of December 2010, Iraq had entered Political Stalemate II as a result of Nouri's inability to follow the Erbil Agreement. September 25th, it will be nine months since the start of Political Stalemate II. Again, the first political stalemate lasted nine months.

In the speech, Barzani raised the issue of the recent draft oil law that Nouri's Cabinet is proposing. Barzani called it out stating that it disregards the Constitution and said that Nouri is behaving like a dictator.

Yesterday came news of various scenarios the White House was entertaining to keep US troops in Iraq beyond 2011. Fox News reported on one scenario that would keep approximately 3,000 troops in Iraq. Eric Schmitt and Steven Lee Myers (New York Times) forget to give credit for who broke that news but note:

It also reflected the tension between Mr. Obama’s promise to bring all American forces home and the widely held view among commanders that Iraq is not yet able to provide for its own security. And it reflected the mounting pressures to reduce the costs of fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan, both wars that have become increasingly unpopular as the 10th anniversary of the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, approaches.

Felecia Sonmez (Washington Post) notes Fox News broke the story and that the Chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Senator Dianne Feinstein, states she will do her part to block any effort to drop the number of US troops to 3,000. She expresses her belief that the US needs to remain in Iraq to ensure what she sees as gains. Mackenzie Weinger (POLITICO) notes that Fox News broke the story and notes, "The other proposal, presented at the Pentagon recently by the senior U.S. commander in Iraq Gen. Lloyd Austin, would keep 14,000 to 18,000 troops there." David S. Cloud (Los Angeles Times) observes, "As the deadline nears, some senior U.S. and Iraqi officials warn that Iraq's army and police, despite billions of dollars in aid from Washington and its allies, will be unable to contain sectarian violence or prevent neighboring Iran from expanding its operations if U.S. forces are drawn down too far."

No, it doesn't appear the Iraq War ends December 31, 2011. Take that up with the liars who spent the last three years telling you it did.

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