US Ambassador to Iraq James Jeffrey today condemned the notion of reducing the massive “civilian” government presence the State Department plans to keep in Iraq for many years going forward, insisting that it would “gut” the vital “transitional presence.”
A Senate committee report cautioned that it was unwise to keep some 17,000 diplomats and “contractors” in the nation after the end of the military occupation, though of course many of those contractors are part of what is, in essence, a State Department “Army” that will continue the occupation in all but name.
The fact that, some eight years after having removed Saddam Hussein, the US is still talking about a “transitional” period points to just how poorly the regime change plan has gone, and Ambassador Jeffrey’s exhortations to “finish the job” by keeping diplomats in a palatial estate in Baghdad on an open-ended mission to prop up the Maliki regime are unlikely to be met well.
Jeffrey insisted that ending the open-ended mission or even paring it back would “create substantial risks” that were something to do with Iran. Since both Iran and the US are backing the same regime, it seems unclear what those risks are.