‘Upbeat’ White House Faces Calls for Long Term Iraq Presence

Iraq's Chief of Staff Says US Must Stay Until at Least 2020

by Jason Ditz, August 11, 2010

The Obama Administration remains committed to spinning its redefinition of combat troops as “transitional forces” as the end of the combat mission, even though there is no doubt that combat will continue past this date.

But while the “drawdown” is of political expedience at the moment, reports suggest that there is little stomach for actually ending the war among US officials, and perhaps evenĀ  more problematic, no Iraqi government in place (beyond a powerless caretaker government) with any vested interest in ensuring the 2011 pullout happens.

In fact the Iraqi Army’s Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Babaker Zebari today warned that, while the level of violence is already rising precipitously it will be even worse after 2011, if the US leaves. He is calling instead for the US to commit to the occupation fo Iraq through at least 2020, which is when, in his estimate, the Iraqi military might be ready to take over.

Though one might be tempted to dismiss Zebari’s comments as those of a single Iraqi soldier, they seem to jibe closely with the sentiment of the US State Department, which over the past few months has been openly trying to create a Second US Army, answerable to the State Department, which would continue the occupation of Iraq for years after, or perhaps at this point it should be couched as if, the current US Army leaves.

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