Tuesday, October 16, 2012

What is the US Deputy NSA doing in Iraq?

In a move that's surprising some, England's closing a consulate.  BBC News reports that the UK government has announced they will be closing the Basra consulate but somehow maintaining an 'office' in Basra -- one without "permanent staffing."  Kitabat reports that British companies and citizens doing business in Basra are objecting to the decision and stating that China and Korean businesses will not benefit at Great Britain's loss.  Consulates were already being analyzed for costs due to the global recession (some estimates say the UK will save 6 million pounds by closing the Basra consulate).  No doubt the September 11, 2012 attack on the US Consulate in Benghazi, Libya also factored in and added safety issues to the cost issues as various countries rethink the nature of their presence on foreign soil.  Days after the Libya attack (14 days, September 25th), rockets were fired on the US Consulate in Basra.

While England's closing its Basra Consulate, the US has a figure on the ground, Denis R. McDonough.  Barack's Deputy National Security Advisor.  All Iraq News reports he and members of his team met with Iraqi President Jalal Talabani yesterday.  Al Mada adds that the discussions involved Syria, violence and the Strategic Framework Agreement.  Al Mada also reports that McDonough met with Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and along with discussing those topics, McDonough also stressed the many visits the US government will be making in the coming weeks.

Press TV has an article about alleged renewed interest in Iraq by the campaigns of Barack Obama and Mitt Romney.  And some might see the meetings as part of that.  But there's a reason the White House isn't publicizing the visit or who's on it -- including a key SOFA negotiator from the Bush administration.

SOFA?  Strategic Framework Agreement?  What was it  Tim Arango reported: for the New York Times September 26th?  Oh, yeah:

Iraq and the United States are negotiating an agreement that could result in the return of small units of American soldiers to Iraq on training missions. At the request of the Iraqi government, according to General Caslen, a unit of Army Special Operations soldiers was recently deployed to Iraq to advise on counterterrorism and help with intelligence.

That's what the US security delegations are making trips about: the negotiations to send more US troops back into Iraq.

The following community sites -- plus the Los Angeles Times, The Diane Rehm Show, Adam Kokesh, Antiwar.com and C-SPAN -- updated last night and this morning:

Amped Status notes this video:

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