In recent years, the U.S. military engagement and operation in Iraq has garnered the most attention in U.S. foreign policy circles and from the U.S. media. However, with the reduction of violence in the country along with the dissolution of influence of Al Qaeda in Iraq, the U.S. is still debating the timetable for withdrawl of military forces by the end of year.
Per the Status of Forces Agreement signed between the Iraqi government and the Bush administration in 2008, all U.S. forces must leave Iraq by the end of 2011. The Obama administration is now debating to leave between 3,000 – 4,000 troops in Iraq after 2011, and withdraw the remaining 45,000 troops still in country. According the report of Agencie France-Presse:
As the White House debates keeping a much smaller force in Iraq after 2011, it will have to decide whether to give up a peacekeeping role in the country’s volatile north, officials and analysts said Wednesday.
Amid negotiations with Iraqi leaders on the scope of a future US military mission, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has approved a tentative proposal to retain as few as 3,000-4,000 troops beyond an end-of-year deadline, a senior defense official told AFP.
The possible peacekeeping operations would be designed to create a buffer force between Kurds and the Arabs in the volatile north and to continue logistic and counter terrorism training support for the Iraqi military.
This story, however, shows that no matter how many times politicians say U.S. forces will be completely withdrawn in the near future, always, something comes up as an excuse to keep the military in country longer than really necessary.
Consider that U.S. presidents, both Republican and Democratic, have made withdraw promises for forces in Korea, Germany, Bosnia, Kosovo, and Japan and the U.S. still has forces in those countries long after the military objective has been achieved. To read the article, click here.