Iraq Withdrawal: U.S. Abandoning Plans To Keep Troops In Country

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Iraq Withdrawal: U.S. Abandoning Plans To Keep Troops In Country

LARA JAKES and REBECCA SANTANA
10/15/11 03:45 PM ET

Force will leave except for 160 troops attached to U.S. Embassy, AP learns

BAGHDAD — The U.S. is abandoning plans to keep U.S. troops in Iraq past a year-end withdrawal deadline, The Associated Press has learned. The decision to pull out fully by January will effectively end more than eight years of U.S. involvement in the Iraq war, despite ongoing concerns about its security forces and the potential for instability.

The decision ends months of hand-wringing by U.S. officials over whether to stick to a Dec. 31 withdrawal deadline that was set in 2008 or negotiate a new security agreement to ensure that gains made and more than 4,400 American military lives lost since March 2003 do not go to waste.

In recent months, Washington has been discussing with Iraqi leaders the possibility of several thousand American troops remaining to continue training Iraqi security forces.

But a senior Obama administration official in Washington confirmed Saturday that all American troops will leave Iraq except for about 160 active-duty soldiers attached to the U.S. Embassy.

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.

Iraqi lawmakers excel at last-minute agreements. But with little wiggle room on the immunity issue and the U.S. military needing to move equipment out as soon as possible, a last-minute change between now and December 31 seems almost out of the question.

Regardless of whether U.S. troops are here or not, there will be a massive American diplomatic presence.

The U.S. Embassy in Baghdad is the largest in the world, and the State Department will have offices in Basra, Irbil and Kirkuk as well as other locations around the country where contractors will train Iraqi forces on U.S. military equipment they're purchasing.

About 5,000 security contractors and personnel will be tasked with helping protect American diplomats and facilities around the country, the State Department has said.

The U.S. Embassy will still have a handful of U.S. Marines for protection and 157 U.S. military personnel in charge of facilitating weapons sales to Iraq. Those are standard functions at most American embassies around the world and would be considered part of the regular embassy staff.

When the 2008 agreement requiring all U.S. forces leave Iraq was passed, many U.S. officials assumed it would inevitably be renegotiated so that American forces could stay longer.

The U.S. said repeatedly this year it would entertain an offer from the Iraqis to have a small force stay behind, and the Iraqis said they would like American military help. But as the year wore on and the number of American troops that Washington was suggesting could stay behind dropped, it became increasingly clear that a U.S. troop presence was not a sure thing.

The issue of legal protection for the Americans was the deal-breaker.

Iraqis are still angry over incidents such as the Abu Ghraib prison scandal or Haditha, when U.S. troops killed Iraqi civilians in Anbar province, and want American troops subject to Iraqi law.

American commanders don't want to risk having their forces end up in an Iraqi courtroom if they're forced to defend themselves in a still-hostile environment.

It is highly unlikely that Iraqi lawmakers would have the time to approve a U.S. troop deal even if they wanted to. The parliament is in recess on its Hajj break until Nov. 20, leaving just a few weeks for legislative action before the end of year deadline.

Going down to zero by the end of this year would allow both al-Maliki and President Barack Obama to claim victory. Obama will have fulfilled a key campaign promise to end the war and al-Maliki will have ended the American presence in Iraq and restored Iraqi sovereignty.

The Iraqi prime minister was also under intense pressure from his anti-American allies, the Sadrists, to reject any American military presence.

An advisor close to al-Maliki said the Americans suggested during negotiations that if no deal is reached in time, U.S. troops could be stationed in Kuwait.

With the U.S. military presence in Iraq currently at about 41,000 and heading down to zero, almost all of those forces will be flowing out of Iraq into Kuwait and then home or other locations.

A western expert in Iraq said it is conceivable that if the Iraqi government asks early next year for U.S. troops to return, there will be forces still in Kuwait able to come back and do the job.

But he stressed that the core problems still remain on the Iraqi side about what types of legal immunity to give the American troops and whether parliament can pass it.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/10/15/iraq-withdrawal-us-troops_n_1012661.html
The issue of legal protection for the Americans was the deal-breaker.
Good. Fuck 'em. If they're going to subject our soldiers to some bullshit kangaroo court for defending themselves then good riddance.
 

Don the Radio Guy

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How many "advisers" or "consultants" are going to be left behind? Don't believe it for a second.
 

whiskeyguy

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Good. Fuck 'em. If they're going to subject our soldiers to some bullshit kangaroo court for defending themselves then good riddance.
This. Unfortunately we'll be leaving the region very unstable... however that probably wouldn't change if we stayed for ten more years. Time to get the fuck out of there.
 

NuttyJim

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This. Unfortunately we'll be leaving the region very unstable... however that probably wouldn't change if we stayed for ten more years. Time to get the fuck out of there.
Don't worry, this will be a mistake I'm sure we as a country will be doomed to repeat.
 

Hate & Discontent

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How many "advisers" or "consultants" are going to be left behind? Don't believe it for a second.
Plenty, but they will all be on the payroll of government contractors. Maybe this will open up some more job opportunities over there...
 

Don the Radio Guy

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Plenty, but they will all be on the payroll of government contractors. Maybe this will open up some more job opportunities over there...
That's fine but lets not pretend this is anything but a staged fake pullout in time for election season. Barry has nothing to run on, not a single success, and now he's going to fuck up the one thing he has fine right from fair one: break his campaign promise to retreat and surrender in Iraq. His base needs a US defeat to be happy, and he's going to try to serve one up.
 

Hate & Discontent

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That's fine but lets not pretend this is anything but a staged fake pullout in time for election season. Barry has nothing to run on, not a single success, and now he's going to fuck up the one thing he has fine right from fair one: break his campaign promise to retreat and surrender in Iraq. His base needs a US defeat to be happy, and he's going to try to serve one up.
I'm pretty sure this is anything but fake, especially considering I have friends in uniform over there right now. They are all coming home by the end of the year, despite the fact that they all shipped over this summer.
 

whiskeyguy

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That's fine but lets not pretend this is anything but a staged fake pullout in time for election season. Barry has nothing to run on, not a single success, and now he's going to fuck up the one thing he has fine right from fair one: break his campaign promise to retreat and surrender in Iraq. His base needs a US defeat to be happy, and he's going to try to serve one up.
It's obviously a political move, but that aside it's also the right move.


BTW, this is because of Bush's deadline. What now, bitches????:action-sm
 

Party Rooster

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and now he's going to fuck up the one thing he has fine right from fair one:
That's going to make a great campaign slogan...



:action-sm

break his campaign promise to retreat and surrender in Iraq. His base needs a US defeat to be happy, and he's going to try to serve one up.
Not this again. He said he was going to end combat operations in 16-18 months after getting in office, and we did in August 2010. Technically late by a couple of months, but what do you expect?

Right after taking office he gave a speech saying he was going with the time table of being out by 2011 that he had "inherited from Bush" and he's sticking with it, nobody's shocked except you.
 

Southtown

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Good. Not one American life should be lost for those savage assholes over there.
 

lajikal

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Barry has nothing to run on, not a single success, and now he's going to fuck up the one thing he has fine right from fair one.
Damn you, I was about to argue against your point then you pulled the retard card.
 

lajikal

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I'm pretty sure this is anything but fake, especially considering I have friends in uniform over there right now. They are all coming home by the end of the year, despite the fact that they all shipped over this summer.
Despite? That's the whole point. They're leaving before Dec 31? That's crazy and goes against the jan 1 deadline.
 

MayrMeninoCrash

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That's fine but lets not pretend this is anything but a staged fake pullout in time for election season. Barry has nothing to run on, not a single success, and now he's going to fuck up the one thing he has fine right from fair one: break his campaign promise to retreat and surrender in Iraq. His base needs a US defeat to be happy, and he's going to try to serve one up.
If I didn't know any better, it sounds like you'd be happy with a bunch more American soldier causalties just in case it will make Obama look bad. Is that what partisan politics has been reduced to?
 
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He said he was going to end combat operations in 16-18 months after getting in office, and we did in August 2010.
Get this through your fucking head.

This is 100% false. All they did was change the name of the combat units there. My buddy's the CO of a Ranger unit, very combat oriented, they did 3 combat tours in Iraq. Once that bullshit declaration was made their designation was changed to security, but you know what didn't change? Their combat mission.

Stop.
 

lajikal

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Get this through your fucking head.

This is 100% false. All they did was change the name of the combat units there. My buddy's the CO of a Ranger unit, very combat oriented, they did 3 combat tours in Iraq. Once that bullshit declaration was made their designation was changed to security, but you know what didn't change? Their combat mission.

Stop.
How combat oriented are they?
 

Party Rooster

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Get this through your fucking head.

This is 100% false. All they did was change the name of the combat units there. My buddy's the CO of a Ranger unit, very combat oriented, they did 3 combat tours in Iraq. Once that bullshit declaration was made their designation was changed to security, but you know what didn't change? Their combat mission.

Stop.
Ummm....Special Ops missions usually are primarily "combat," no matter where they are. Pretty sure Seal Team 6 didn't bust into Pakistan on an advisory or security mission.

We went from 142k down to 50k by August 2010. The types of casualties went from our guys getting wounded in firefights in the cities to them shelling our bases because we went to a "defensive" strategy as opposed to an offensive one.

I'm not saying there's not technically some "combat" operations going on, but at least it's at a much lower level than it was. And you're talking about Special Ops guys. The guys that sign up for that expect those kinds of missions.
 

lajikal

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He doesn't really talk about it, but he's said point blank that their mission hasn't changed, just their title.
Joke in reference to your post. But I'm sure they're very combat involved. OND started just over a year ago and there's been 36 kia (32 of them being either ied or indirect fire, 4 small arms fire) / 288 wia as opposed to over 100 deaths a month during the combat years.

What your buddy isn't explaining is that there's still combat teams and SF there but they're not operating in that capacity. i.e. SF also train foreign militaries.
 

lajikal

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Rangers are SF lite. In order to be a ranger you just have to act angry when you're scared.
 

jimmyslostchin

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SEALs, Delta, SF, they're very different from Rangers. Rangers are basically elite light infantry. They're structured just like any other light infantry unit in the army for the most part. Even though they're in the special ops community, Rangers provide muscle for the "real" spec ops guys when they're deployed with them, or they perform the same combat missions any other light infantry unit does when deployed. Again, that's for the most part, there are at times exceptions.
 

Hate & Discontent

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Rangers are not special ops.
Yes, they are.

Get this through your fucking head.

This is 100% false. All they did was change the name of the combat units there. My buddy's the CO of a Ranger unit, very combat oriented, they did 3 combat tours in Iraq. Once that bullshit declaration was made their designation was changed to security, but you know what didn't change? Their combat mission.

Stop.
That has little bearing on the current situation. Again, I have friends over in Iraq RIGHT NOW that are coming home before year endm after less than 9 months in country. This has been in the works for a while now.

Rangers are SF lite. In order to be a ranger you just have to act angry when you're scared.
Might take a little more than that.

SEALs, Delta, SF, they're very different from Rangers. Rangers are basically elite light infantry. They're structured just like any other light infantry unit in the army for the most part. Even though they're in the special ops community, Rangers provide muscle for the "real" spec ops guys when they're deployed with them, or they perform the same combat missions any other light infantry unit does when deployed. Again, that's for the most part, there are at times exceptions.
Rangers pull a lot more dark-n-dirty shit than people think, but you otherwise nailed it. There is a certain elite Army unit that draws most of its selection candidates directly from the Rangers. That should speak to the level of talent there is in the 75th.

Sent from my phone, so fuck you if I had a typo.