Withdrawal Means Withdrawal
President Obama will be able to say that he kept one of his promises from the ’08 campaign trail come Dec. 31 of this year, when all but 160 American troops will leave Iraq after more than eight years of heavy military involvement (read: war) in the Middle Eastern nation.
There has been talk between the two countries about a larger U.S. presence remaining in Iraq for training and other purposes, but the Iraqi government’s refusal to budge on granting American forces immunity in local courts proved to be a sticking point in that discussion and isn’t likely to change before year’s end. However, the Associated Press noted in an in-depth withdrawal report released over the weekend that America’s diplomatic presence in Iraq will continue to be robust and that security contractors will abound. –KA
WAIT, BEFORE YOU GO…
AP via Huffington Post:
A senior U.S. military official confirmed the departure and said the withdrawal could allow future but limited U.S. military training missions in Iraq if requested.
Both officials spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue.
Throughout the discussions, Iraqi leaders have adamantly refused to give U.S. troops immunity from prosecution in Iraqi courts, and the Americans have refused to stay without it. Iraq’s leadership has been split on whether it wanted American forces to stay. Some argued the further training and U.S. help was vital, particularly to protect Iraq’s airspace and gather security intelligence. But others have deeply opposed any American troop presence, including Shiite militiamen who have threatened attacks on any American forces who remain.
Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has told U.S. military officials that he does not have the votes in parliament to provide immunity to the American trainers, the U.S. military official said.
A western diplomatic official in Iraq said al-Maliki told international diplomats he will not bring the immunity issue to parliament because lawmakers will not approve it.
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