Since its June 30 pullout from Iraq’s cities, US troops have found it increasingly difficult to conduct patrols in the cities. All such patrols will have to be joint, but Iraqi forces have declined to allow them access to many cities, including Baghdad. Patrols that have gone without accompanying Iraqi forces have been publicly condemned.
But now, though violence hasn’t really gotten any worse since the pullback, the US is redoubling its effots to secure the joint patrols, particularly in Mosul. The new excuse is monitoring reconstruction projects, monitoring which they claim is vital for the Iraqi economy.
Iraqi forces, however, remain reluctant to allow the patrols into the cities, and even when they get there the residents are not exactly welcoming them with open arms. Though the US determination to get at least some of its 132,000 troops into Iraq’s cities is unlikely to vanish, it seems that going forward they will be clashing with Iraq’s equally strong determination to see them remain out of sight as much as possible.
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