Monday, January 30, 2012

Foot in the Door?

So are the Iraqis, after demonstrating that we will pull out our troops when told to do so, agree to a return of some American troops?

The Obama administration is preparing to begin talks with Iraq on defining a long-term defense relationship that may include expanded U.S. training help, according to Defense Secretary Leon Panetta's chief policy aide. ...

"One of the things we're looking forward to doing is sitting down with the Iraqis in the coming month or two to start thinking about how they want to work with" the U.S. military to develop a program of exercises, training and other forms of security cooperation, Flournoy said.

It will be easiest to get our trainers back in, since Iraq needs our help to prepare their armed forces for conventional combat to deter invasion. So Iraqis except for the most slavish pro-Iranian stooges--could accept that we'd enhance Iraqi "sovereignty" by our presence.

Once in for that purpose, it might be easier for the Iraqis to ask for conventional American capabilities to fill in the gaps until the Iraqis can fulfill those missions on their own.

And with troops in Iraq, we can again provide the insurance for political factions that they can pursue their goals through political processes and not resort to violence.

Kudos to the Obama administration for not giving up on this issue. I'm disappointed that they didn't seem to care about staying in Iraq after 2011, but if they at least see that it was a mistake to leave, I'll cut them some slack as they try to return to Iraq.

UPDATE: Lack of US troops is hampering Iraqi "sovereignty." Says Strategypage:

Iraq recently complained to Iran and Turkey about not respecting Iraq's sovereignty. ... Iraqis were upset about a casual remark by the Iranian head of the Quds (overseas terrorism and political manipulation) Force, who asserted that Iranian backed militias controlled southern Lebanon (Hezbollah) and southern Iraq (several much smaller militias that once had considerable control). The Iranian government quickly apologized for the Quds commander's remark.

Iraq lives in a rough neighborhood. The arguments for our return are clearly available.