Another historic millstone in Iraq

Created: Thursday, 02 July 2009 Written by monsveneris
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With a nod and a wink at his Iranian backers (the main "winners" in the U.S. invasion of Iraq), Iraqi "Prime Minister" Nuri al-Maliki prepares to announce which foreign cartel has won lucrative contracts to develop key oil and gas fields, nearly four decades after the Baath party nationalised the country's energy sector. And while 4.7 million Iraqis - almost 20 per cent of Iraq’s pre-war population - remain displaced, al-Maliki also locks down Baghdad so that mercenaries, PR agents and U.S. military honchos can celebrate the "withdrawal" of U.S. forces from Baghdad and other Iraqi towns and villages. Oh, really?
Troop Movement, Not Troop Withdrawal
by Dennis Kucinich

First published on Wednesday, July 1, 2009 by CommonDreams.org

Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) made the following statement on June 30, 2009 regarding the announcement that U.S. troops have left the cities and towns of Iraq and turned over formal security to Iraqi security forces:

The withdrawal of some U.S. combat troops from Iraq’s cities is welcome and long overdue news. However, it is important to remember that this is not the same as a withdrawal of U.S. troops and contractors from Iraq.

U.S. troop combat missions throughout Iraq are not scheduled to end until more than a year from now in August of 2010. In addition, U.S. troops are not scheduled for a complete withdrawal for another two and a half years on December 31, 2011. Rather, U.S. troops are leaving Iraqi cities for military bases in Iraq. They are still in Iraq, and they can be summoned back at any time.

This is not a great victory for peace. On May 19, the Christian Science Monitor reported that Iraqi and U.S. military officials virtually redrew the city limits of Baghdad in order to consider the Army’s Forward Operating Base Falcon as outside the city, despite every map of Baghdad clearly showing it with in city limits. In fact, according to Section 24.3 of the “SOFA” U.S. troops can remain at any agreed upon facility. The reported reason for this decision is to ensure U.S. troops are able to ‘help maintain security in south Baghdad along what were the fault lines in the sectarian war.’

This troop movement should not be confused with a troop withdrawal from Iraq. In reality, this is a small step toward Iraqi sovereignty as Iraqi security forces begin assuming greater control over security operations, but it is a long way from independence and a withdrawal of the U.S. military presence.

Dennis Kucinich is US Congressman from Ohio.


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