Sunday, May 18, 2008

Near-term American troop-withdrawal: Brushed off in Washington, welcomed in Baghdad

US media coverage of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's visit to Baghdad on Saturday alternated between brushing it off with a short sentence (NYT), and assuring readers and members of the war party that the House rejection of continued war funding without a near-term withdrawal plan (in a measure she got passed just before this visit) will surely be short-lived.

But brushing off the whole near-term troop-withdrawal question is something for English-language readers only. For instance, the pan-Arab daily AlHayat quotes a variety of Iraqi officials who don't brush off the near-term US-withdrawal proposal at all. For instance, their reporter says:
The United Iraqi Alliance welcomed the non-binding decision of the American Congress respecting withdrawal of the American forces from Iraq by the end of this year. Ali al-Adeeb, a Dawa party leader and member of parliament, said the decision of the American congress to withdraw its forces from Iraq was a correct decision. He explained in statements to the press that "the policy [or orientation] of the Iraqi govenment is that this year will be the last year of renewal of the presence of foreign forces in Iraq".
And what about "readiness" of the Iraqi forces? Here is what Maliki adviser Yasin Majid told AlHayat: "The Iraqi security forces have attained a high level of preparedness, and the latest military operations are the best indication of that. We can now say that it has become possible to rely on the Iraqi forces to look after the security portfolio".

For a more detailed explanation, the reporter spoke to general Mahdi Sabih, described as in charge of the forces for the preservation of order, who said:
"The Iraqi forces are capable of managing the security portfolio in the country", and in particular he said: "The Iraqi forces are capable of filling the security gap that the multinational forces leave in the event of their withdrawal." [But] he stressed "the need to supply the Iraqi forces with modern and advanced weaponry".
A spokesman for the Iraqi Accord Front, the main Sunni bloc in parliament, was more ambiguous and non-committal.
For his part, Hussein al-Faluji of the Accord Front said "the question of withdrawal of the multinational forces is linked to the question of readiness of the Iraqi forces and their ability to take over the security portfolio." And he explained that the question of withdrawal depends on an agreement to be signed between the Iraqi government and these forces".

1 Comments:

Anonymous Shirin said...

"The Iraqi security forces have attained a high level of preparedness, and the latest military operations are the best indication of that. We can now say that it has become possible to rely on the Iraqi forces to look after the security portfolio."

Translation: We can now say that it has become possible to rely on the Iraqi forces to kill their fellow Iraqis who oppose the occupation and its proxies.

12:52 AM  

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