US May Keep American Troops in Iraq, Despite Lack of Authority

Some of the hundreds of US troops still in Baghdad have been training and supporting Maliki's abusive elite security forces

The US is keeping hundreds of American troops and security personnel in Iraq, despite a recently-passed resolution from Congress that failed to reauthorize funding for the US military to train and support Iraqi security forces.

Most Americans have been led to believe that all US forces besides those guarding the massive American Embassy in Iraq have been withdrawn since the end of last year. But small units of up to 300 troops have remained in Baghdad to train Iraqi security forces and provide aid and support, allegedly for counter-terrorism operations.

In reality, US troops have been providing this support to elite Iraqi forces that report directly to the increasingly authoritarian Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. They have essentially been used as a secret police force for Maliki to attack, detain, and torture his political opponents and crack down harshly on public dissent.

There were attempts in the Washington pipe-line to negotiate with Iraq an agreement in which even more US troops would be sent back. But last month, Congress passed a resolution that did not reauthorize funding for these small units. “The authority for U.S. forces to train and assist the Iraqi security forces expired Sunday [Sept. 30],” reports The Cable‘s Josh Rogin.

Still, the Pentagon is scrambling to try and keep the forces there.

“No personnel will return immediately to the United States on Oct. 1, 2012 while DoD is reviewing the effect of not being authorized under the Continuing Resolution to continue the training of Iraqi Security Forces (ISF)  following expiration of the Iraqi Security Forces Fund (ISFF) authority on Sept. 30, 2012,” Pentagon spokesman Lt. Col. Wesley Miller told The Cable. “The Department of Defense is reviewing the availability of other authorities that may authorize OSC-I to conduct training activities in Iraq.”

Despite claims by the Obama administration about “ending the Iraq war” and bringing our troops home, the US is still very much involved in Iraq, in training the abusive security forces, in propping up the corrupt and dictatorial Maliki government, and in trying to slowly slip more US forces into the country.

Author: John Glaser

John Glaser writes for