Wednesday, December 17, 2008

The 'almost' withdrawal

Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari headed a high-level government delegation to the United Nations headquarters in New York to hold talks with UN Secretary General Mr. Ban Ki-moon and members of the Security Council on ending the mandate of Multinational forces in Iraq this year, and to request the Security Council to protect the funds and financial assets and oil sales and from any legal proceedings against it.
The Governor of the Iraqi Central Bank and a number of advisers to the Prime Minister participated in the government delegation in addition to senior officials of the Foreign Ministry.
The delegation hopes to hold a series of meetings and discussions with permanent and non-permanent members of the Security Council to mobilize necessary support from the international community for Iraq before holding the Security Council's session on the new draft resolution.

Iraq's Foreign Ministry released the above Sunday. Please note that had the White House wanted to (or had the treaty masquerading as the Status Of Forces Agreement failed on the Iraqi side), the same process would have been asking for a one-year (or even just a six-month renewal) of the Security Council mandate. Doing so was never as difficult as the White House (or some in the press) wanted you to believe.

And such an agreement would have covered the US and Australia, Romania, Estonia, El Salvador, NATO and the UK for their presence in Iraq but instead all have had to do their own deals. Prime Minister Gordon Brown was in Baghdad today and he and puppet of the occupation Nouri al-Maliki issued the following joint-statement: "The role played by the UK combat forces is drawing to a close. These forces will have completed their tasks in the first half of 2009 and will then leave Iraq." Brown expects the British 'military operations' to conclude in May and for British troops to 'leave' in July. And it's being played as withdrawal.

There's never a bigger suck-up to New Labour than any reporter for the Guardian of Manchester and Nicky Watts sucks hard to declare it a "withdrawal." How very sad that the paper has been repeatedly misrepresented in the US as "independent" when it is and has always been the party organ of New Labour. It's not just that the Times of London broke the story of the Downing St. Memos, it's that the Guardian never covered them. And always avoids reporting anything embarrassing to New Labour. But Amy Goodman and a host of other liars have insisted to the American people that this paper is 'independent' and the last word for the left -- that little trick works only if people are unaware that the paper editorially supported the war on Iraq. It's also why a Nicky Watts goes to Iraq with the prime minister but the alleged independent outlet doesn't bother to create a Baghdad division. Can't risk having a hot story that might embarrass the Labour Party which sold the illegal war under Tony Blair and continues it under Gordon Brown.

In the real world, "withdrawal" was when the British forces fled their base in Maysan Province with less than 24 hours notice back in August of 2007. That's a withdrawal. What's being touted currently is a conditional drawdown. If the conditions Gordon Brown outlines -- similar to the ones he outlined September 14, 2007 and, on his first visit to Iraq as Prime Minister, October 7, 2007 -- hold, then the UK will reduce their troops to approximately 300 troops which will be called "military advisers."

In light of what's being (falsely billed) as "withdrawal" today, it's worth quoting Gordon Brown's words in Baghdad on October 7, 2007:

So what we propose to do over these next few months is to move from a situation where we had a combat role to one where we have an overwatch role; where the Iraqis increasingly take over, with the 30,000 that they have, responsibility for their own security; and with us, as the British, having an overwatch so that we maintain a facility for re-intervention if necessary, but at the same time we play a greater role in training future security forces in Iraq.

For those who are confused, SOFIA News Agency explains today that Bulgaria last unit of troops that were stationed in Iraq arrived "at the SOFIA International Airport Wednesday afternoon." That would be a withdrawal. A withdrawal is like a pregnancy in that there's no such things as "a little bit withdrawal." It either is or isn't.

And as Gareth points out in his e-mail, British opinion was against the illegal war long before Brown became PM. He suggests everyone pay attention "to the sop being marketed" and file it away for future reference when Barack begins attempting to alter the meaning of "withdrawal" as well.

Reuters currently lists the following numbers for foreign forces in Iraq:

United States 143,000
Britain 4,100
Romania 600
Australia 300
El Salvador 200
Bulgaria 155
Denmark 55
Lithuania 53
Estonia 38

Unless every Bulgarian news outlet is incorrect, Reuters needs to update its listing. The Bulgarian News Network opens their coverage with: "Every last Bulgarian soldier is now withdrawn from Iraq as the plane with the last contingent touched down on Sofia Airport Wedensday." Bulgaria lost 13 soldiers in Iraq since the start of the illegal war in March 2003.
Bulgaria's DC Embassy states that all Bulgarian forces are out of Iraq (that's all troops and that's according to two staffers at the embassy including the ambassador's secretary). If that turns out to be incorrect, we will correct it in a later entry.

Stan's "The Invisible Franklin" went up last night and, like others posting last night, his focus was Peanuts:

Mikey Likes It!
Charlie Brown stinks at baseball
7 hours ago

Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude
i always identified with sally brown
7 hours ago

The Outing of Charlie Brown
7 hours ago

Thomas Friedman is a Great Man
Franklin and Violet
7 hours ago

Ruth's Report
A Jewish perspective
7 hours ago

Trina's Kitchen
Peanuts in the Kitchen
7 hours ago

Like Maria Said Paz
Snoopy and Woodstock
7 hours ago

Kat's Korner (of The Common Ills)
Charles Shultz' women
7 hours ago

And Cedric's "Park Avenue Prisoner Edwin Schlossberg " and Wally's "THIS JUST IN! EDWIN SCHLOSSBERG, PRISONER OF PARK AVENUE!" (joint-post) went up this morning. As Elaine explained last night, Wally's had an injury and is limping on crutches. He and Cedric will post irregularly as a result. (Elaine also explains that we couldn't get ahold of Wally's mother Monday night and I wasn't about to put anything up here Tuesday morning until she'd been told personally.)

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