There’s been a lot of fanfare over the US withdrawal from Iraq, but in fact the US will keep 5,000 armed men in Iraq – many of them former US special forces – they just won’t be called US troops ; and they’ll be accompanied by CIA agents over-seeing US trained El Salvador style Iraqi death squads.
CNN reports that
‘Hundreds of nonmilitary U.S. personnel will remain in Iraq, including 1,700 diplomats, law enforcement officers and economic, agriculture and other professionals and experts, according to the State Department.
In addition, 5,000 security contractors will protect U.S. diplomats and another 4,500 contractors will serve other roles, such as helping provide food and medical services, until they can be done locally.’ (1)
These ‘private security contractors’ (a euphemism for mercenaries), working for companies like Dyncorp will include many former members of the US and British militaries and Special Forces, just as they have up until now. They have been responsible for some of the worst cases of random shootings of civilians in Iraq and the transfer of command of them from the Pentagon to the State Department will shift them from almost total immunity from prosecution to total immunity from prosecution.
They may become as immune to prosecution as the Dyncorp employees contracted by the US State Department in Bosnia who kidnapped young girls, raped them and used them as forced sex slaves, selling them to human traffickers (for details and sources on this click this link).
The reason that no US troops are being left turns out to be that the Iraqi government would not grant them immunity from prosecution in Iraqi courts.
The Washington Post reported that ‘Iraqi leaders said last week that they want a small contingent of U.S. military trainers to remain, but without immunity from local prosecution, a condition the Obama administration has said it cannot accept. The administration has been planning to keep 3,000 to 5,000 military trainers in the country if the two sides can hammer out an agreement.’(2). (for more details on the immunity issue click this link)
The US military also spent the last 8 years training up El Salvador style Iraqi 'police commandos' and 'special forces' in Iraq under both Bush and Obama - units responsible for the same torture and murder that the Salvadoran military carried out against rebels and civilians alike in the 1980s (3) – (5).
Some of the ‘diplomats’ operating from the vast US embassy in Baghdad, which is bigger than the Vatican and cost over $1 billion to build, will undoubtedly be CIA agents, as every major power uses embassies and diplomatic immunity as cover for intelligence operatives (6). Some of these will be CIA ‘handlers’ overseeing Iraqi death squads, just as in the past in Vietnam and countries across Latin and Central America.
So the Obama administration doesn't have much of a leg to stand on in demanding that no country 'destabilises' or 'interferes' in Iraq, unless by 'de-stabilises' they mean 'threatens to replace our puppet government with a different one' (7).
Obama may not use the phrase ‘war on terror’ any more, that doesn’t mean the death squads or the ‘extra-ordinary rendition’ for torture are over.
It doesn’t mean the calls for a re-run of the Iraq war, this time against Iran, is off either. The supposed justification is even identical– that the Iranian government and military would commit collective national suicide by using WMDs or nuclear weapons on nuclear armed states such as the US or Israel or their allies; or would commit national suicide by proxy by giving nuclear materials to terrorists.
This is despite the fact that Iran’s Ayatollahs and the Republican Guard showed in 1988 that they preferred an inglorious peace that allowed them to survive in power to glorious national martyrdom, just as Saddam showed the same during the 1991 Iraq war (when he did have chemical warheads for his scuds) by only using conventional warheads in scud missile attacks on Kuwait and Israel; and despite Israeli military historian Martin Van Creveld and former US General John Abizaid saying we can live with a nuclear Iran, which, if it develops nuclear weapons, will want them for the same reason as the US and Israel – as a deterrent against attacks on it by others (8) – (9). Creveld also points out that US or Israeli intelligence have been claiming Iran was on the verge of building nuclear weapons for at least 20 years (10).
(1) = CNN 13 Dec 2011 ‘Obama says U.S. goal is successful Iraq’, http://edition.cnn.com/2011/12/12/politics/obama-maliki/index.html
(2) = Washington Post 08 Oct 2011 ‘State Department readies Iraq operation, its biggest since Marshall Plan’,http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/state-department-readies-iraq-operation-its-biggest-since-marshall-plan/2011/10/05/gIQAzRruTL_story.html ; ‘Iraqi leaders said last week that they want a small contingent of U.S. military trainers to remain, but without immunity from local prosecution, a condition the Obama administration has said it cannot accept. The administration has been planning to keep 3,000 to 5,000 military trainers in the country if the two sides can hammer out an agreement.’
(3) = New York Times Magazine 01 May 2005 ‘The Way of the Commandos’, http://www.nytimes.com/2005/05/01/magazine/01ARMY.html?pagewanted=1&_r=1
(4) = Shane Bauer ‘Iraq’s new death squad’ in The Nation 6th June 2009, http://www.thenation.com/doc/20090622/bauer
(5) = See the blogpost linked below – the part under the sub-heading ‘Killing and torturing Iraqis’ and sources 16 to 41 on it http://inplaceoffear.blogspot.com/2010/09/are-iraqis-better-off-as-result-of-2003.html
(6) = Mother Jones 11 Jun 2011 ‘How Not to Withdraw from Iraq’http://motherjones.com/politics/2011/06/withdrawal-iraq-american-embassy-size
(7) = White House Office of the Press Secretary 12 Dec 2011 ‘Remarks by President Obama and Prime Minister al-Maliki of Iraq in a Joint Press Conference’, http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2011/12/12/remarks-president-obama-and-prime-minister-al-maliki-iraq-joint-press-co
(8) = Forward 24 Sep 2007 ‘The World Can Live With a Nuclear Iran’, http://www.forward.com/articles/11673/
(9) = CNN 18 Sep 2007 ‘Retired general: U.S. can live with a nuclear Iran’, http://articles.cnn.com/2007-09-18/world/france.iran_1_nuclear-weapon-nuclear-program-nuclear-fuel?_s=PM:WORLD
(10) = NYT 21 Aug 2004 ‘Sharon on the warpath : Is Israel planning to attack Iran?’, http://www.nytimes.com/2004/08/21/opinion/21iht-edcreveld_ed3_.html