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Born at the Crest of the Empire

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Thoughts regarding the Iraqi calls for withdrawal

I'm still not taking the Iraqi calls for a timetable for a US withdrawal all that seriously. It smells like a negotiating ploy on the SoFA. They're not outlining a date for withdrawal, not giving a plan or any specifics, just lobbing out this incendiary embarrassment to the Bush administration (and its political successor John McCain.)

But it is notable that the negotiations are at a point and the Iraqis feel secure enough to do this.

(Plus calls for US withdrawal always help Maliki domestically.)


  • Bushco have consistently ignored or downplayed Iraqi nationalism. They would do better to be honest and admit they have no intention of ever leaving Iraq until the oil is gone.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9:15 AM  

  • I expect Maliki needs US military iron to secure his power base... In some loose sense as his own militia to counter adversaries and their militias. However, as his own domestic military becomes more effective as a partisan fighting force, his need for the US presence diminishes. It's possible -- even likely -- he has reached a political tipping point where calling on the removal of US troops (and their actual withdrawal) is in his political best interest.

    We may have reached a point where our divergent priorities ( and we've always had different priorities than the Iraqis have had for their nation) have reached an unsustainable level. No longer can we veil our occupation and oil-lust in the fig leaf of "helping the Iraqis" or as supporting a "sovereign" Iraq.

    By Blogger -epm, at 9:52 AM  

  • Anon, It's like the Israeli nuclear program, there's no need to actually say it. Everyone who matters already knows.


    EPM, He's always got the Badr affiliated with him, although they are not really his militia.

    And calling for withdrawal is definitely in his political interests, although I'm not sure actual withdrawal is.

    Beyond the security questions, right now, most of the Iraqi anger is focused on the US. Where does it turn if they go?

    By Blogger mikevotes, at 10:27 AM  

  • Good points. I am, of course, just spit-ballin' here.

    Iraq is in the middle, between the US and Iran. I understand the religious affinity between the Shia government of Iraq and the Shia government of Iran, but I don't know if there is a cultural affinity between the two, nor even a common world view or views on religion and "democracy." Iraq (Maliki) may be more cozy with Iran merely as a balance to the US occupation. If the US were to withdraw, and if insecurities were to remain or increase, perhaps the ire that is now vented at the US may be redirected to the actual agents of their insecurity, Iran being one such agent.

    I believe a US withdrawal will force the Iraqis to come to terms with their independence. Seeing as they are hardly independent now, what with the US occupation. I can only see good positive things coming from a US military withdrawal.

    Actually, "withdrawal" is too inartful a term. I think we should look at our involvement not in terms of military occupation versus "withdrawal," but in terms of military occupation versus demilitarized engagement.

    By Blogger -epm, at 11:00 AM  

  • EPM, the Sunnis, maybe, the Kurds maybe, but not the majority Shia who are Maliki's political base. The Iranians hold more sway with them than the Iraqi government.

    And the Iraqi Shia are the group that represents the real threat to Maliki.

    However, you do bring up an interesting point, if they do throw the US out, they wouldn't be able to ride the middle and they'd have to be completely beholden to Iran.

    By Blogger mikevotes, at 12:25 PM  

  • I don't think most Iraqis see Iran as "the actual agents of their insecurity".

    By arming, training, and financing the Sahwa (Sunni "Awakening"), the U.S. is creating far more "insecurity" than Iran is. it just depends on which side you look at it from: Sunni or Shia. Iran is seen as the big enemy by us, not by the Iraqis. Iran is trying to minimise our influence within Iraq, but that's hardly an unpopular thing to Iraqis.

    Maliki is trying to score some points by opposing the occupation and making it seem as if he's independent of the Administration. His Party is up for provincial elections soon, too, and he wants to take some of the wind out of Sadr's sails.

    By Blogger Todd Dugdale, at 5:34 PM  

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