Nov 14, 2011
The announcement by the Obama administration that it was withdrawing U.S. troops from Iraq by the end of the year was no surprise. It was only following the timetable laid out by the Bush administration. But it was assumed that the U.S. would maintain a massive presence in Iraq, using military contractors and mercenaries directed through the massive embassy in Baghdad and a network of consulates throughout the country.
But in late October, the Obama administration announced that it was drastically scaling back the State Department presence, also. This is supposedly due to budget cuts, even though Congress had specifically excluded spending for Iraq and Afghanistan from those cuts.
No, the U.S. military is being chased out of Iraq by the very violence that it had created. The U.S. war that destroyed the Saddam Hussein regime left a power vacuum that was filled by virulent rivalries, Shiite, Sunnis and Kurds, as well as rivalries inside those ethnic groups. At the same time, other powers in the region, especially Iran, Turkey and Saudi Arabia, compete for influence inside Iraq.
There might be an official government headed by Nouri al-Maliki and a large Iraqi state apparatus. But they are part of an ongoing civil war, marked by regular terrorist attacks, bombings and assassinations, violence also aimed at U.S. forces.“An invasion is never a very good basis for forming an alliance,” said Christopher Hill, the former U.S. ambassador to Iraq.
Caught in the middle of this ongoing violence is the Iraqi population. They have already suffered millions of casualties and impoverishment that is among the worst in the world.
While the U.S. pulls back from Iraq, it is shifting more forces into the countries surrounding Iraq, starting with Kuwait, along Iraq’s border. The U.S. still has a huge stake in Iraq. The major U.S. oil companies continue to suck the oil wealth out of the country. And Iraq remains at the center of the vital, oil rich Persian Gulf.
“We will have a robust continuing presence throughout the region,” Secretary of State Clinton assured the world after Obama’s announcement.
The violence and misery created by U.S. imperial domination of Iraq and the Persian Gulf will continue.