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  ..[ ].. > > ( ) ( Department of General military subjec
 


is iraq stable

( ) ( Department of General military subjec


 

06-07-09, 09:27 AM

  : 1

is iraq stable



 

is iraq stable without us troops


For the U.S. military, its the million dollar question or rather the $687 billion question, according to a recent estimate of the Iraq wars total cost. Is Iraq now stable enough for them to take a
permanent back seat?


The short answer is no one knows. The only way they were ever going to find out was to leave Iraqs own forces to it and hope the whole thing doesnt come tumbling down. They started doing that on Tuesday when they pulled out of Iraqi cities.


Its been an encouraging start. A big bomb in Kirkuk cast a shadow over Iraqs celebrations of its new-found sovereignty, but since then things have been relatively quiet. Militants might try to take advantage by stepping up attacks, but for the moment they seem with celebrating a victory over the occupation and setting off the odd bomb, of course.


The United States coalition partners have for the most part long since departed. British forces handed over southern Iraq to the Americans in April, but since 2007 their 4,000 odd troops left had been largely confined to Basra airport anyway.


And one thing the crystal ball gazers have learned about Iraqs hugely complicated, many-sided conflict is that the past is rarely a reliable guide to the future.


When optimists thought Iraq was poised to enjoy democracy after the fall of Saddam, it spiralled into years of bloody insurgency and sectarian killing. Later, just when it seemed all hope was lost and Iraq would have to be partitioned, things starting getting dramatically better.


The idea that Iraqi forces arent ready to take on the countrys security usually centre on claims that they are untested, not well trained or infiltrated with militiamen.


But few deny they look more professional and integrated now than anyone would have thought possible two years ago. They might still be full of militiamen, but those militiamen are no longer kidnapping or killing political rivals, as in the past.


And there are clearly some things the Iraqis do better. For one thing, they know the language and understand the culture.


When I was on a U.S. patrol in Iraqs troubled Diyala province, a U.S. unit nearby accidentallly shot and wounded a civilian in Jalawla town, forcing them to vacate it because a public outcry would put other soldiers at risk of attack.


What they had done is fire a warning shot at a vehicle after the driver failed to heed a command in English to stay back. But few Iraqis in rural areas speak basic English.


The real test will be when U.S. pulls all combat forces out, under President Barack Obamas orders, by September next year.


Many Iraqis Ive spoken too seem convinced the insurgents are just biding their time, sharpening their knives and stockpiling explosives waiting to reignite the conflict.


But whether or not Iraq can look after itself, at some point the Americans have to say: Look, weve done our best to get the lid back on Pandoras Box. Now its over to you.

 

 


 

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