Just because the Iraqi government has yet to approve the Obama Administration’s repeated calls for the military to be allowed to remain in the nation beyond December doesn’t mean the US won’t have a significant number of fighters in the country come January 1. They just won’t be wearing military uniforms.
Rather the US State Department is looking to dramatically escalate the number of “security contractors” deployed to the nation, with officials saying the goal is to have around 5,000 such fighters in Iraq by December. This is more than double the number of security contractors currently in Iraq.
In practice this will mean the State Department will have its own “private” army operating in Iraq, with a myriad of contracting firms looking to catch big contracts for sending the forces abroad.
The State Department has been openly pushing for the creation of its own little fighting force since June, and seems to be on the verge of fulfilling that wish, whether the uniformed US soldiers ever actually leave or not.
The idea is that these mercenary forces will remain on the ground for several years beyond 2011, with the State Department planning a 3-5 year additional transition. They have already approached the military to provide the contractors with heavy weaponry for the continued occupation.