By Karl Gotthardt
The President declared the war in Iraq over and that all U.S. troops will be withdrawn by the end of this year. The decision seems to be based on a failure to negotiate immunity for American troops as is the case in most countries US troops serve.
“After nearly nine years, America’s war in Iraq will be over.”
From earlier reports approximately 150 troops will remain to provide protection for the Embassy in Baghdad and thousand of diplomats and other U.S. personnel.
Negotiations were ongoing for months for a larger contingent of American troops of approximately 15,000. No agreement could be reached during the negotiations.
The President made the announcement sound as if it was the fulfillment of a campaign promise. There was no mention of a negotiation breakdown, negotiations that would have provided diplomatic immunity to US troops. Obama took no questions after the announcement.
Although the withdrawal was initially negotiated by the Bush Administration, the current unrest in the country, including the Turkish incursion into the Kurd area would make this withdrawal untimely. There is also the question of Iran and While there will be a healthy and respectful relationship between the US and Iraq, according to the President, there seem to be many unanswered “what ifs”.
Senior Iraqi officials have said in private that they would like a remaining US troop presence. Anti-US Shi’ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr opposed a U.S. troop presence. He is now a major political ally for Prime Minister Maliki.
There are presently 44, 000 troops still remaining in Iraq. The combat role ended in 2010 and U.S. troops have been primarily in an advisory role.