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Iraq To Washington: We Don’t Want Your Troops – OpEd

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What a difference a day makes. Just 24 hours ago US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter was telling the Senate Armed Services Committee all about the Obama Administration’s new military strategy for the Middle East. The headline grabber from his testimony was the revelation that the US military would begin “direct action on the ground” in Iraq and Syria.

“We won’t hold back from supporting capable partners in opportunistic attacks against ISIL (ISIS),” he told the Committee. The new strategy would consist of “three R’s,” he said: more US action, including on the ground, with Syrian opposition partners to take the ISIS stronghold in Raqqa, Syria; more intense cooperation with the Iraqi army including with US-embedded soldiers to retake Ramadi from ISIS in Iraq; and the beginning of US military raids, “whether by strikes from the air or direct action on the ground.”

That was news to the Iraqis, it turns out. And it wasn’t very good news at that. Today Sa’ad al-Hadithi, spokesman for Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, said “thanks but no thanks” to a third US invasion of his country. “We have enough soldiers on the ground,” he said.

This raises the question of whether the US administration intends to insert US soldiers into Iraq against the wishes of its elected government, as it has done and promises to continue to do in Syria. In that case, the US would be shooting at ISIS and the Iraqi government, as well as the Iran-backed Shi’ite militias who are coming to increasingly control large parts of the Iraqi military. Presumably all these forces would be shooting back at US troops on the ground as well. The US would likely be partnering in this task with the anti-ISIS Sunni fighters highlighted in Defense Secretary Carter’s testimony yesterday. In other words, the US would be backing forces closer to those of Saddam Hussein, who they overthrew twelve years ago.

The Iraqi government had requested Russian assistance against ISIS earlier this month, after Russian strikes in Syria appear to have made a significant impact on the battlefield. But Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff Marine Gen. Joseph Dunford told the Iraqis if they accept Russian assistance they can forget about any more US aid.

It appears the US threat was not enough to put the Iraqis off asking for Russian help, as earlier this week the Iraqi parliament approved Russian airstrikes against ISIS in Iraq.

So the big roll-out of the new US Middle East military strategy seems to have fizzled, as none of the intended beneficiaries of US assistance seem all that enthused about the partnership. For the moment, the US finds itself backing Iranian militias in Iraq while fighting them next door in Syria, while planning to place US troops in with “moderate” anti-Assad rebels in the path of falling Russian bombs. All the while, of course, the US is aiding the Kurds in Syria and Iraq which are currently being bombed by NATO ally Turkey.

What else could possibly go wrong?

This article was published by RonPaul Institute.

One thought on “Iraq To Washington: We Don’t Want Your Troops – OpEd

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    October 29, 2015 at 11:17 pm
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    I think Mr. Sa’ad al-Hadithi’s statement of “thanks but no thanks ” to a third US invasion of his country. “We have enough soldiers on the ground” reflects what many Iraqis believe now that US wants to reoccupy Iraq again by asking the Iraqi government to invite US troops to fight Daesh. The secretary of defense’s area for fighting Daesh between Al Ramadi to Raqqa is also scary, because it gives an area for a new region or new governments in Syria and Iraq. Truly, Iraqis think that they have enough fighters to take down Daesh. Daesh is now on the run to Yemen. I personally think Iraqis can defeat Daesh. Most Iraqis also think of US as an imperialist occupier and the destroyer of Iraq for the last 25 years. They also believe that the US occupation has brought Daesh, because President Bush destroyed the Iraqi army, leaving Iraq as a joke country, a move that only serves Israel. It follows that there is no need to interject American troops in that environment. The country and the US politicians need to admit that the invasion and occupation of Iraq in 2003 was totally a wrong decision, because Iraq had neither WMD nor a role in September 11. Iraq had no weapons either. The invasion was also incorrect, because Iraq was given to Iran as a gift. At any rate, Al-Qaida was responsible for September 11, which has generated Daesh and Jebhat Al Nusra in Syria, which is a terrorist group that may have received some of the weapons that were dropped in Syria a week ago. In addition, Iraqi people think that US tries to divide the country into three small states, and the French chief of Intelligence indicated that in his lecture in Washington, DC. The issue of division was also mentioned by a media reporter some time ago as well, when he argued that US can threat the Iraqis of dividing the country if the Iraqis do not let US troops go back again to Iraq. In my opinion, the problem is about Syria first. But Iran, Iraq, and Hezab Allah will fight for their lives to keep President Assad in charge in Syria, because they believe that if Assad goes, Syria will be divided; hence, Hezeb Allah will be surrounded by Turkey, US troops, Israel, and the new regime in Syria. Then the new condition will be used to overthrow the political regime in Baghdad and Iran will be boxed. Stated differently, no Iraqi government will give a permission allowing US troops to enter Iraq again. The government that was created by President Bush is actually headed by AL Sistani and any prime minster in Iraq requires permission from him in making such a decision. And AL Sistani will not give such permission. Finally, a fact must be stated. The French and the British imperialists were defeated a long time ago and lost their role in the Middle East. Their occupations of the Middle East failed miserably. All occupiers of that region faced the same eventuality. US needs to realize that its role is on the decline in the Middle East and has to find another alternative. The best alternative for US is to spend the war funds to build and develop America again. Also, US should respect the decision of the Iraqi government on what to do. The American people are in need for these funds, and global adventures have disastrous consequences on all.

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