Saturday, May 06, 2017

As Always, the Definitions Section Will Be Key

Iraq doesn't want American combat troops in Iraq after the ISIL fight is won? Fine. But let's see the fine print of any agreement.


U.S. combat troops will not stay on in Iraq after the fight against the Islamic State group is over, Iraq's Prime Minister said Friday — a statement that followed an Associated Press report on talks between Iraq and the United States on maintaining American forces in the country.

A U.S. official and an official from the Iraqi government told the AP this week that talks about keeping U.S. troops in Iraq were ongoing.

We have few combat troops anyway. Some artillery, helicopter, and special forces units of course.

And then we have to consider the definitions.

We tend not to call special forces "combat troops" for the purpose of these things. So they might be around.

Embassy guards don't count.

Contractors don't count.

We can have some combat troops earmarked for Iraqi missions stationed in Kuwait or on Navy ships in the Persian Gulf.

Do any troops in Iraq's Kurdish region count as combat troops "in Iraq?"

What of troops in Syria still fighting ISIL?

If we leave a battalion set of equipment in our embassy compound, does that count if the troops have to fly in from Italy and draw the equipment?

And remember the whopper of them all back in 2009 when our combat role ended and we called slightly modified combat brigades left in Iraq "advise and assist" brigades (and I mentioned a number of the above work-arounds)?

Remember, even with the caliphate dismembered as an entity, ISIL will exist as a terrorist force along with other Sunni jihadis and the Shia militias who will threaten the Iraqi government and an attempt to build rule of law-based democracy.

However we structure a presence, let's not blow it the way we did in 2011, okay?

UPDATE: Post Mosul, ISIL, al Qaeda, and other Sunni jihadis acting as terrorists and insurgents (and let's not forget the Sadrists and other Shia death squad types who will aid Iran) will still need to be dealt with even when the caliphate is defeated.

Don't forget that one road block on working on political deals to keep Sunni Arabs from fighting the Shia-dominated government under the black banner of Islamist terrorists is the violent Shia minorityof the population that threatens coup and so makes the government leery of cutting deals with Sunnis lest the Shia fanatics rise up and hand Iraq to Iran.