Power of Story Send a Tweet        
OpEdNews Op Eds

US Using Iraqi Political Discord to Justify Continuance of Occupation

By       Message Dahr Jamail       (Page 1 of 3 pages)     Permalink

Related Topic(s): ; ; , Add Tags  Add to My Group(s)

View Ratings | Rate It

opednews.com Headlined to H3 2/25/10

Author 41157
- Advertisement -
Reprinted from Truthout

As Iraqi national elections on March 7 approach, violence and political discord in the country have escalated dramatically.

On February 22, Gen. Ray Odierno, the top US commander in Iraq, announced that the US was preparing contingency plans to delay the withdrawal of all combat forces from Iraq if violence or political instability increases after the national elections scheduled for March 7.

There are approximately 96,000 US military personnel in Iraq. Under President Obama's current plan, which is a continuation of George W. Bush's policy in Iraq, the stated intention is to cut the number of US troops in Iraq to 50,000 by August 31.

The US government plans to keep at least 50,000 troops in Iraq indefinitely, as a so-called training force for Iraqi security forces.

- Advertisement -

On February 22 alone, the same day General Odierno made his comments, at least 44 Iraqis and one US soldier were killed as attacks raged across Iraq. In one of the attacks, a female suicide bomber killed 22 people and wounded 33 others in an attack at the home of a police commissioner in Balad Ruz. In another, three mortar rounds struck the so-called Green Zone in Baghdad, wounding at least six people.

The attacks have drawn comparisons by Iraqi analysts to rampant attacks that occurred during the sectarian bloodshed that ravaged Iraq between 2006-2007.

On February 19, just days before Odierno made his comment about the possibility of ongoing violence slowing a US withdrawal, US Brig. Gen. Kevin Mangum warned that violence in Iraq could worsen as a result of the upcoming elections.

- Advertisement -

The elections have been seen as a pivotal point for the Obama administration, with the expectation that they would bring more political stability to Iraq, further enabling a US withdrawal.

Instead, thus far, they are having the opposite effect, as General Mangum suggested might happen.

"Will there be sectarian strife after the election?" asked Mangum. "That's our biggest concern at this point."

Mangum, one of the senior military commanders in Iraq, warned that the period after Iraq's national vote may well be more dangerous than election day itself. Mangum's comments show that the military could already expect Odierno's contingency plans of slowing the withdrawal to be a reality.

Meanwhile, Iraq's political process appears to already be in a state of breakdown largely fomented by current and formerly US-backed players.

Months of delays and growing calls for boycotts, along with actual boycotts of the election from candidates and groups recently banned from participating are fueling political discord that threatens to prevent any party from successfully forming a government in the wake of the elections.

- Advertisement -

One of Iraq's most prominent Sunni Parliamentarian's, Saleh al-Mutlaq of Iraq's National Dialogue Front, recently decided to pull his party out of the elections and boycott the vote, after being banned by the Accountability and Justice Committee for accusations of having affiliations with Iraq's dissolved Baath Party.

Mutlaq is protesting what he along with many Shia politicians call a "dirty tricks" campaign that he believes is masterminded by Iran that aims to secure power for a Shia government. Many analysts see his move as a reflection of the Sunni boycott of the 2005 Parliamentary elections that led to a large portion of Iraq's population being disenfranchised by the vote, and was viewed as a major contributor to the sectarian violence that followed.

Mutlaq's accusations gain credibility where Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki is concerned.

Next Page  1  |  2  |  3


- Advertisement -

View Ratings | Rate It


DAHR JAMAIL He is author of the book Beyond the Green Zone: Dispatches from an Unembedded Journalist in Occupied Iraq. Jamail's work has been featured on National Public Radio, the Guardian, The Nation, and The Progressive. He has received many (more...)

Share on Google Plus Submit to Twitter Add this Page to Facebook! Share on LinkedIn Pin It! Add this Page to Fark! Submit to Reddit Submit to Stumble Upon Share Author on Social Media   Go To Commenting

The views expressed herein are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or its editors.

Writers Guidelines

Contact AuthorContact Author Contact EditorContact Editor Author PageView Authors' Articles
- Advertisement -

Most Popular Articles by this Author:     (View All Most Popular Articles by this Author)

Gulf ecosystem in crisis after BP spill

Destruction along the Gulf. How Has it Come to This?

Uncovering the Lies That Are Sinking the Oil

Evidence Mounts of BP Spraying Toxic Dispersants

We're Looking at the End of Humanity -- And It Might Happen Sooner Than You Think

Pondering Derrick Jensen/Life vs. Productivity: "What Would You Live and Die to Protect?"