The five nations besides the United States which will still have troops in Iraq past the end of the month may have made an only nominal contribution to the overall force, but they have helped provide the illusion that the international military presence is not a unilateral American action. That will be coming to an end soon, according to a top Iraqi MP.
Hummam Hammudi, the chairman of Iraq’s Foreign Affairs Committee, says the cabinet has approved draft legislation which would provide a timetable for the pullout of all non-US foreign troops. If approved by parliament, all non-US foreign troops would have to leave the country by the end of July.
Chiefly this would effect Britain’s 4,100 remaining troops, though over 90% of them were scheduled to be withdrawn before the deadline at any rate. An inauspicious end to Britain’s once significant presence in Iraq, the deal would require that they, along with Estonia, Romania, El Salvador, and Australia, halt all duties in the nation by the end of May, and that after that they would have two months to leave the country for good.
What it will leave is America’s 150,000 or so soldiers, operating as the sole military presence in the nation. The timing of the move is curious, as the Iraqi government is already speaking openly of the US troops remaining long after their own 2011 deadline expires.