A ''Stable'' Country Teetering on the Brink: Iraq after the Withdrawal of US Troops

Analysis, posted 01.02.2012, from Iraq, in:
A ''Stable'' Country Teetering on the Brink: Iraq after the Withdrawal of US Troops (Photo: AP)

The withdrawal of US troops after nearly nine years in Iraq could not have been more dramatic. Only a few hours after the last GI had symbolically closed the gate between Iraq and Kuwait and hence ended the operation "New Dawn", the government coalition in Baghdad collapsed.

Four days earlier, at a military base in North Carolina, the point of return for most US soldiers stationed in Iraq, US President Barack Obama had announced the end of the war between the Tigris and Euphrates. The soldiers would be departing with heads their held high, leaving behind a stable country, he said.

Now it looks as though Obama will soon regret this statement, just as his predecessor George W. Bush regretted his premature announcement on 1 May 2003 that combat was over. "Mission accomplished" was written in large letters behind the president's rostrum for that speech. But afterwards, the war truly began in earnest: nearly 4,500 Americans and over 100,000 Iraqis have since lost their lives, and Washington has spent a trillion dollars on this war.

Now, following the actual end of combat operations, events in Iraq are coming thick and fast. First, representatives in the Iraqia block left parliament, and then their ministers abandoned the government. Afterwards, a warrant was issued for the arrest of Vice-President Tariq al-Hashemi, and finally, Saleh al-Mutlaq, the deputy prime minister, was fired.


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Birgit Svensson; Translated by Jennifer Taylor