Gen. Odierno Seeks More Troops for Northern Iraq

Troops Would Encourage Peshmerga, Iraqi Troops to "Get Along"

Top US Commander in Iraq General Ray Odierno’s public comments seem to come in one of two varieties. Either Gen. Odierno informing us that things are going incredibly well in Iraq or Gen. Odierno trying to make the case for troops having to get involved in something else in the nation. Today was one of the later types.

Citing the growing violence in Nineveh Province, which administration officials had previously dismissed as unrelated to the security situation, and the rising tensions between the national government and the regional government in Kurdistan, General Odierno now believes that the US needs even more troops in northern Iraq.

Today’s mission for the troops isn’t combat or even national building, rather it is hanging out with the Iraqi national military and the Kurdish Peshmerga forces “and encouraging the two sides to get along.” Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki is reportedly open to the idea.

Though Gen. Odierno says that he doesn’t think this latest mission is going to delay the pullout timetable, he seems remarkably optimistic about the prospect of repairing relations between the nation’s Kurds and Arabs. The tensions weren’t created overnight and they seem unlikely to be solved that way.

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Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.