Sunday, May 3, 2009
Iraq government's endorsement of withdrawal plan means nothing
The national government in Baghdad is correct when it says the U.S. troops should leave the Iraq's cities by June 30, as planned in the U.S.-Iraq withdrawal agreement, but must understand that such statements are meaningless. If the current increase in suicide attacks in Baghdad and Mosul begins to threaten the country's stability, what government spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh said today simply won't matter. Dabbagh said Sunday that the Iraqi government won't extend the June 30 deadline despite the upsurge in violence, according to Cable News Network (CNN). Under last August's agreement, U.S. troops only will serve in support of Iraq's security forces until most soldiers are ultimately withdrawn in 2011. "The Iraqi government is committed to the agreed-upon withdrawal dates, whether it's the June 30 withdrawal of the U.S. troops from all cities and towns or the complete withdrawal from Iraq by the end of 2011," al-Dabbagh said in a written statement, according to CNN. The U.S. military had been considering leaving troops in Mosul beyond the deadline, CNN said. "The bottom line is we're doing joint assessments with the government of Iraq in all of the areas," U.S. Gen. Raymond Odierno said in April. "And we believe, if you ask me today, the one area I'm still not sure about is Mosul." But Iraqi officials will have the final say, U.S. Maj. Gen. David Perkins said Friday. "What we have always said with regards to al Qaida is that, strategically, for [al Qaida in Iraq] to win, they have to win Baghdad, and for them to survive, they have to hold on to Mosul," Perkins said. "You can see that by how they are conducting their attacks." April 23 was the deadliest day this year in Iraq, CNN said, with suicide bombers killing at least 55 people in Diyala province and at least 28 people in Baghdad. Let's be serious about this. After spending thousands of American lives and billions of dollars in resources, the U.S. government is not about to permit Iraq to be destabilized or to put its colossal investment at risk.