The Iraq war ends with a sovereign Iraq kicking US out
That the Iraqis were in a position to kick the US out is probably the main accomplishment of the Iraq war.
So the Iraq war ends. What began as a mad dash to Baghdad without much worry about what came next, complete with an infamous May 1, 2003, "Mission Accomplished" moment ("In the battle of Iraq, the US and our allies have prevailed" President Bush said from the deck of the USS Abraham Lincoln then) quickly cratered into an insurgency and civil war that claimed at least 100,000 Iraqi lives and 4,500 American ones.Skip to next paragraph
The Arab League observer mission in Syria is likely to fail
Egypt's military rulers crack down on democracy groups
Iran's threats over Strait of Hormuz? Understandable, but not easy
Eastern Libya poll indicates political Islam will closely follow democracy
Iraq's Maliki threatens, Sunnis grumble, and Baghdad goes boom
Subscribe Today to the Monitor
Now it's over, and it's time for a thousand retrospectives to bloom. US politicians and the pundits that serve them have been trying to frame the Iraq war in terms of whether Bush won Iraq, or Obama lost it, or vice versa. They're almost all of them wrong. The claim that President Obama met a campaign promise today is technically true – but only because Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki forced him to. Obama was seeking to keep troops in Iraq, perhaps as many as 15,000 of them, beyond the Dec. 31 withdrawal date.
But the Iraqi government, led by Shiite Islamists with ties to Iran and well aware that an extension of the US occupation would be political poison for them (already dealing with public anger at rampant corruption and poor service delivery), had none of it. Mr. Maliki told Obama he could have his troops in the country if they were subject to Iraqi law, something he and everyone else knew was a deal-breaker.
The claims from the right that Obama has "abandoned" Iraq are equally absurd, for the reasons just explained. Max Boot, a hawkish pundit and one of the most ardent boosters of the Iraq war at the time of the US invasion, writes this week that Obama is "attempting to put his abandonment of Iraq in the best possible light" and that he's "taking an enormous gamble, not only with the security of Iraq, the United States, and the entire Middle East but also with his own historical reputation."