Iraq violence flares as US begins to draw down troop levels
The killing of five policemen in Baghdad on Tuesday came as President Barack Obama vowed again to fulfill an agreement with the Iraqi government to lower US troop levels from 80,000 to 50,000 by the end of August.
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"I say to the Iraqi people, to those who say Maliki is the problem, I'm ready to freeze my nomination," he said, adding: "The problem is bigger than a single candidate."Skip to next paragraph
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Politicians have said the choice of a prime minister is the main stumbling block in negotiations on forming a government nearly five months after a parliamentary election.
Drawdown of US troops
Also raising fears of instability is the gradual drawdown of US soldiers in Iraq. President Barack Obama vowed again yesterday to fulfill an agreement with the Iraqi government to lower American troop levels from 80,000 to 50,000 by the end of this month, in a speech that may draw comparisons to former President George W. Bush, reports The Christian Science Monitor. The US has agreed to remove all troops from the country by the end of 2011.
Juan Cole, blogger and author of Engaging the Muslim World, quotes T.S. Eliot and says the US mission in Iraq is ending “not with a bang but a whimper” –and without an Iraqi government in place. But he says that Obama is making the right moves.
The main thing to remember is that the US military, all the time it was in Iraq, was never really in control at a neighborhood level and that tens of thousands of US troops could not prevent the Civil War from killing so many Iraqis. So there is no reason to think that keeping a large US combat force in Iraq could eliminate political violence. In fact, since the guerrillas used to lay roadside bombs for US convoys, and often missed and killed civilians, the end of active US patrols in the cities actually contributed to a fall in violence.
Moreover, US combat troops cannot help anyone form a government and are irrelevant to Iraq’s stalled political process. So Obama is right to stick to the timetable.
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