US Pullout Act of Deception

1 July 2009

Yesterday US forces pulled out of Iraq's main cities, posing a crucial test for the security capabilities of Nouri al-Malaki's government.
raqi government's success or failure will depend both on its ability to bring about national accord and on how effective its security forces prove to be in the face of intensified violence – more than 200 people were killed in insurgents' attacks in the month of June.

However, it is already apparent that Al-Maliki's Government has failed to achieve national reconciliation, and it has yet to produce competent security forces which all the sons of Iraq can rally behind and trust. These forces number an impressive half a million personnel but they are mostly from one community to ensure loyalty and prevent any doctrinal or sectarian penetration.

It is too early to judge the overall operational and professional competence of the Iraqi security and National Guards forces. They have only just embarked on their task, having emerged from under the US cloak and have not been tested yet. But there are signs that a large percentage of those who enlisted in the security forces did so out of personal necessity in order to have a salary to feed their families at a time of high unemployment and scarcity of other jobs in the civilian sector.

Certainly, the pullout by US forces is an important step on the road to ridding Iraq of the occupation but it does not merit the celebrations, joyful festivals and the creation of a new public holiday on 30 June to mark the occasion.

In fact the US forces are still in Iraq. They left the cities but were redeployed outside them, ready to return should the Iraqi security apparatus fail to control the situation. These celebrations, then, were premature and should have been postponed until the real and complete withdrawal due a year and a half from now if the present US administration is sincere and honours its commitments. The present pullout is simply an act of deception, encouraging the Iraqi people to celebrate the restoration of their sovereignty over their cities and the control of their own internal security when the opposite is true. The US forces are still in control of Iraqi airspace, waters, and territories and their commander has the final word in all its affairs.

It is ironic that Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki is claiming the credit for the US pullout and is promoting it as one of the greatest achievements of his government and the political process – born, let us not forget, of the occupation – which brought it into life. If any credit is due for this pullout, it is to the Iraqi resistance and the martyrs who fell in defence of Iraq's dignity and national sovereignty over the past six years.

The present US administration committed itself to withdrawing its forces in Iraq not in order to restore sovereignty to its people but to minimize its financial and human losses, realizing that to remain in Iraq would be a very costly political suicide. This occupation has cost the US more than $800 billion; 4,000 US soldiers have been killed and 30,000 injured and yet nothing has been achieved. There is still no long term security or stability and Iraq has not been transformed into the projected regional democratic and economic model.

The signs are there that the Iraqi resistance, which claims the pullout as its own victory, will continue its attacks against the occupation forces and those collaborating with them. Four Americans were killed yesterday in clashes with resistance elements. Statements by the resistance factions appeared confirming they would continue to pursue the occupiers even in their bases outside the cities.

The days ahead may be the most difficult for Al-Maliki's Government and all those betting on it saving the US project in Iraq. We are concerned that there is no reason to be optimistic in this respect since how can a government, which fails to provide its citizens with basic, essential services such as water, electricity, and medical care, be able to provide them with security and stability?