July 22, 2010
McClatchy Newspapers

State Dept. Planning To Field A Small Army In Iraq

by Warren P. Strobel

In little more than a year, State Department contractors in Iraq could be driving armored vehicles, flying aircraft, operating surveillance systems, even retrieving casualties if there are violent incidents and disposing of unexploded ordnance.

Under the terms of a 2008 status of forces agreement, all U.S. troops must be out of Iraq by the end of 2011, but they'll leave behind a sizable American civilian presence, including the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, the largest in the world, and five consulate-like "Enduring Presence Posts" in the Iraqi hinterlands. . . .

Critics say it would be more logical for the military to leave several thousand troops behind to protect government officials and property.

However, that would require renegotiating the U.S.-Iraqi status of forces agreement, a sensitive step. There's "no thought of that right now," the senior administration official said.


			Deaths Estimator Enver Masud, "A Clash Between Justice and Greed, Not Islam and the West," The Wisdom Fund, September 2, 2002

Robert Fisk, "Saddam Statue Scene Staged," Independent, April 11, 2003

Patrick Cockburn, "Revealed: Secret Plan to Keep Iraq Under U.S. Control," Independent, June 5, 2008

John Pilger, "Iraq: The Crime of the Century," New Statesman, December 10, 2009

[Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is presiding over what is shaping up to be a radical expansion of a private, US-funded paramilitary force that will operate in Iraq for the foreseeable future - the very type of force Clinton once claimed she opposed.--Jeremy Scahill, "Iraq Withdrawal? Obama and Clinton Expanding US Paramilitary Force in Iraq," Nation, July 22, 2010]

[Under the administration's definition of the concept, combat operations will continue after August 2010, but will be defined as the secondary role of US forces in Iraq. The primary role will be to "advise and assist" Iraqi forces.--Gareth Porter, "Obama drops pledge on Iraq,", August 4, 2010]

[After this month's withdrawal, there will still be 50,000 US troops in 94 military bases, "advising" and training the Iraqi army, "providing security" and carrying out "counter-terrorism" missions. In US military speak, that covers pretty well everything they might want to do.--Seumas Milne, "The US isn't leaving Iraq, it's rebranding the occupation," Guardian, August 4, 2010]

Spencer Ackerman, "U.S. Supersizes Afghan Mega-Base as Withdrawal Date Looms,", August 9, 2010

[Under the current status of forces agreement between the US and Iraq, the US retains all air rights over Iraq. . . .

The US does not yet need Iraq's oil, but controlling it gives the US potent influence over its importers, such as China, India, Japan and Europe. Control of Mideast oil remains a pillar of US geopolitical world power.--Eric Margolis, "Will the US Really Pull Out of Iraq?,", August 10, 2010]

[It was perhaps a different sort of scripted, mythical end to the Iraq War than the last one, the May 1, 2003 "Mission Accomplished" speech of President Bush, but it was no more real, as over 50,000 US troops remain on the ground in Iraq tonight.--Jason Ditz, "US Announces Second Fake End to Iraq War,", August 18, 2010]

VIDEO: "Obama Admin Claims End to Combat Operations in Iraq, But Iraqis See Same War Under a Different Name,", August 20, 2010

VIDEO: "Iraq War Vet Camilo Mejia: US Withdrawal Plan Marks 'Privatization of Military Occupation',", August 20, 2010

Jeremy R. Hammond, "Deconstructing the Official Narrative on the U.S. Withdrawal from Iraq,", August 20, 2010

Robert Fisk, "US troops say goodbye to Iraq: Torture. Corruption. Civil war. America has certainly left its mark," Independent, August 20, 2010

VIDEO: "'Iraq Is a Shattered Country' - Nir Rosen on Obama Declaring an End to US Combat Mission in Iraq,", September 1, 2010

VIDEO: "Withdrawal or Enduring Presence? US Military Continues to Invest Hundreds of Millions in Iraq Bases,", September 1, 2010

VIDEO: "Invisible War: How Thirteen Years of US-Imposed Economic Sanctions Devastated Iraq Before the 2003 Invasion,", September 1, 2010

Nancy A. Youssef and Sahar Issa, "Gates: Iraq outcome 'will always be clouded by how it began'," McClatchy Newspapers, September 1, 2010

[Iraq has gone 222 days since March 7 elections gave the secular Iraqiya slate a two-seat win in parliamentary elections, a world record in being unable to form a government after a vote.--"U.S. won't support a Maliki-Sadr alliance," UPI, October 15, 2010]

[His is the ultimate political best-seller we'll never be able to read - telling for instance how the US, the United Kingdom and the Saudis shelled out over $60 billion for Iraq to go to war with Iran during the 1980s; what was really discussed between Saddam, himself and former US defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld in Baghdad when they met in 1983; how every Western politician paid homage at the court of Saddam - the man who would get rid of those demented ayatollahs; how Saddam beat the late ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini's human waves of martyrs by spraying them with Western-supplied chemical weapons; and how those fabled "weapons of mass destruction" were nowhere to be seen since 1995 at least - thus rendering George W Bush's and Tony Blair's casus belli null and void.--Pepe Escobar, "Aziz's story will remain untold,", October 28, 2010]

Shashank Bengali, "Saddam-era U.N. sanctions lifted on Iraq after 20 years," McClatchy Newspapers, December 15, 2010

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