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Monday, April 20, 2009

Obama’s Iraq: NO ‘CHANGE’

by Sarah Meyer
Index Research

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1. Obama On Iraq Before the Election
2. Obama’s Agenda in Iraq (Feb., March, April 2009)
3. Reality in Iraq Now
4. UPDATES: More "extraordinary achievements" in Iraq
5. References

(most recent update 23.07.09)


"What I do oppose is a dumb war."
Barack Obama 2002


"Most of you know that I have opposed this war from the start. I thought it was a tragic mistake. .. That's why I have a plan that will bring our combat troops home by March of 2008 ... letting the Iraqis know that we will not be there forever ... "
Barack Obama, 2007.

VIDEO: Barack Obama on Iraq, Opposition from the Start


Asked in Turkey how he was different from President Bush, Mr. Obama said: "Here in the US is like piloting a big tanker. They're not like people ... You can't just whip them around and go in a new direction. Instead, you've gotta slowly move it and then eventually you end up in a very different place. "

Very difficult for President Obama, when – for political survival - he has chosen to listen to those with the mindset from the military - industrial complex/PNAC/AIPAC. The key word that now gives a clue to the reality of Obama’s formerly hopeful policies is “BUT,” following his “change” rhetoric.

Q.: Can one surmise that the military / CIA/corporate interests will ensure and maintain the ‘al Qaeda’ violence level in Iraq in order to keep troops there indefinitely? Listening to General Odierno, it sounds as if this is already happening. President Obama already has his very own Quagmires: Iraq, NATO, Afghanistan plus now Pakistan, and Israel. Very big ships to move.

When the Obama team hears criticisms, it will use the Common Purpose Project , a weekly meeting PR group who want to “enforce a kind of message discipline.” But no Obama “Change in tone” will change the impression that the President is Bush's second hand car dealer. Even the NY Times noted that “President Obama’s foreign policy has much in common with that of his predecessor.”

America needs to wake up from its delusion of hope.

= = =

But the time-line of the drawdown is back-loaded with the first US troops not scheduled to come home until this September – and even then our force in Iraq will only be reduced by 12,000. / At that point, approximately 135,000 US troops will still occupy the country. That’s the same number that invaded Iraq back in March 2003.
Aaron Glantz
, The Troops Aren’t Coming Home

February 2009

Iraq Troop Withdrawal Decisions Delayed
09.02.09. Post Chronicle / ICH. U.S. military officials have delayed implementing Iraq troop withdrawals to give President Barack Obama more time to consider his options, sources say. / Quoting two unnamed senior Pentagon officials, CNN reported Monday that Obama has asked military leaders to assess the risks and implications of three timelines that envision withdrawing U.S. combat troops over 16-, 19- or 23-month periods.

Petraeus Leaked Misleading Story on Pullout Plans
09.02.09. Gareth Porter, IPS/ Huff Post. . The political maneuvering between President Barack Obama and his top field commanders over withdrawal from Iraq has taken a sudden new turn with the leak by CENTCOM commander Gen. David Petraeus - and a firm denial by a White House official - of an account of the Jan. 21 White House meeting suggesting that Obama had requested three different combat troop withdrawal plans with their respective associated risks, including one of 23 months./ The Petraeus account, reported by McClatchy newspapers Feb. 5 and then by the Associated Press the following day, appears to indicate that Obama is moving away from the 16-month plan he had vowed during the campaign to implement if elected.

The war in Iraq isn't over. The main events may not even have happened yet
15.02.09. Thomas Ricks, Washington Post. President Obama campaigned on withdrawing from Iraq, but even he has talked about a post-occupation force. The widespread expectation inside the U.S. military is that we will have tens of thousands of troops there for years to come. Indeed, in his last interview with me last November, Gen. Raymond T. Odierno, the top U.S. commander in Iraq, told me that he would like to see about 30,000 troops still there in 2014 or 2015. / Yet many Americans seem to think that the war, or at least our part in it, is close to being wrapped up.

Obama’s Iraq Plan Has December Elections as Turning Point for Pullout
25.02.09. P Baker, T. Shanker, NY Times. President Obama’s planned Iraq troop drawdown would leave the bulk of American forces in place until early next year while some combat units would remain in place in new roles even beyond a declared August 2010 target for withdrawal, administration officials said Wednesday. / The plan would maintain relatively high troop levels through Iraq’s parliamentary elections, to be held in December, before beginning in earnest to meet the August 2010 target for removing combat forces, the officials said. Even after August 2010, as many as 50,000 of the 142,000 troops now in Iraq would remain, including some combat units reassigned as “Advisory Training Brigades” or “Advisory Assistance Brigades,” the administration and Pentagon officials said. / … The administration intends to call those remaining troops a “transition force.” / Mr. Obama plans to seek more money for wars in Iraq and Afghanistan from a separate fund outside the Pentagon’s base budget (Bush’s game), which will also grow beyond the 2009 spending plan of $513 billion. The separate “war costs” budget proposal for 2010 could reach $130 billion to $140 billion, officials said.

US Combat Missions in Iraq Will Continue After ‘Pullout’
25.02.09. anti-war. Just one day after reports came out regarding the Obama Administration’s 19 month withdrawal plan from Iraq, the Pentagon was detailing the enormous number of troops that would remain on the ground after Obama ostensibly fulfils his promise to remove all combat troops, and all the combat they’ll be engaging in. / After the “pullout,” as many as 50,000 troops will remain on the ground, and despite being touted as a withdrawal of combat troops, Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell conceded that some would continue to “conduct combat operations,” and Iraq would still be considered a war zone. The rest would be what he described as “enablers.” / President Obama promised a 16-month pullout from Iraq during the campaign, but backed off the promise under pressure from the military. Since then he has spoken of a “responsible military drawdown,” but even as he is set to officially unveil this new plan the question of when the troops will actually be out of Iraq entirely seems like it will remain unanswered.

The contradiction between President Obama's speech at Camp Lejeune and his rhetoric before he was elected should serve as a warning to those who take his words at face value. But more important, combined with his plan to escalate the war in Afghanistan, Obama's adoption of key lies from Bush's Iraq narrative should be seen as a dangerous indicator of things to come.

Orwell in Babylon: Obama's War-Continuing "Withdrawal" Plan
25.02.09. Chris Floyd, It would be superfluous in us to point out that a plan to "end" a war which includes the continued garrisoning of up to 50,000 troops in a hostile land is, in reality, a continuation of that war, not its cessation.

Pentagon moves to impose secrecy on budget talks
25.02.09. AFP/ anti war. Senior Pentagon officials have had to promise they will keep the details of the US military budget secret as the Defense Department prepares to make tough cuts on weapons programs, a spokesman said on Wednesday. / In an unprecedented move, Defense Secretary Robert Gates asked top military officers and civilian officials to sign non-disclosure forms in which they agree not to reveal deliberations about the politically charged budget.

Obama Seeks $205 Billion for Wars : Gates Touts "Strong Commitment to Our Security"
26.02.09. Jason Ditz. anti-war, uruknet. In his first budget proposal, President Barack Obama has requested over $205 billion in war funding through the end of fiscal 2010. The funding would be in addition to the $533.7 billion he is asking for the Pentagon’s regular budget next year. Defense Secretary Robert Gates cheered the movie as a "strong commitment to our security" at a time when the economy is floundering. The move is a break from the Bush Administration’s tactic of funding the war through "emergency" requests. President Obama says putting the war funding "on the books" is important to ensuring officials are honest about the amount of money being spent on the nation’s assorted wars...

Obama to Announce Iraq Troop Withdrawal
26.02.09. Phyllis Bennis, IPS. The troop withdrawal as planned would leave behind as many as 50,000 U.S. troops. Those troops won't include officially designated "combat" troops. But those tens of thousands of troops will still be occupying Iraq. Doing what? Very likely, just what combat troops do — they would walk and talk and bomb and shoot like combat troops, but they’d be called something else. The New York Times spelled it out last December: describing how military planners believe Obama's goal of pulling out combat troops “could be accomplished at least in part by re-labeling some units, so that those currently counted as combat troops could be 're-missioned,' their efforts redefined as training and support for the Iraqis.” That would mean a retreat to the lies and deception that characterized this war during Bush years — something President Obama promised to leave behind. It would also mean military resistance in Iraq would continue, leading to more Iraqi and U.S. casualties. … more!

Reminder About Iraq Troop Withdrawal
26.02.09. Jim Miklaszewski, NBC. However it may be framed politically, President Obama's decision on U.S. troop levels in Iraq will NOT withdraw all U.S. combat forces from Iraq within the next 19 months.

Obama’s Iraq withdrawal plan sets stage for continued war
26.02.09. Bill Van Auken, global research. In his first address to a joint session of Congress Tuesday night, President Barack Obama promised that he would "soon announce a way forward in Iraq that leaves Iraq to its people and responsibly ends this war." / The US president offered no details about his plan. Subsequent leaks from within the administration and the Pentagon, however, have made it clear that, as with so much of his high-flown but ambiguous rhetoric, the vagueness was deliberately crafted to mask a lie—or in this case, two lies.

Remarks of President Barack Obama – Responsibly Ending the War in Iraq
27.02.09. Remarks of President Barack Obama – As Prepared for Delivery; Responsibly Ending the War in Iraq, Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, Friday, February 27, 2009

Senate Democratic Leaders Concerned About Obama’s Iraq Plan
26.02.09. NY Times. Senate Democratic leaders expressed concerns over reports that President Obama’s proposal to withdraw troops from Iraq over a 19-month timeline would leave a residual force there of as many as 50,000 troops.

Pelosi butts heads with Obama
27.02.09. John Bresnahan, Politico. On Wednesday night, Pelosi made it clear to MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow that she wasn’t happy with Obama’s plan to leave 50,000 U.S. troops in Iraq and that, unlike Obama, she “absolutely” favors criminal prosecutions for any Bush administration officials involved in torture or other excesses in the fight against terrorism.

Freeing Up Resources... for More War
26.02.09. Norman Solomon, anti war/uruknet. Hours after President Obama’s speech to a joint session of Congress, the New York Times printed the news that he plans to gradually withdraw "American combat forces" from Iraq during the next 18 months. The newspaper reported that the advantages of the pullout will include "relieving the strain on the armed forces and freeing up resources for Afghanistan." The president’s speech had little to say about the plans for escalation!, but the few words will come back to haunt: "With our friends and allies, we will forge a new and comprehensive strategy for Afghanistan and Pakistan to defeat Al Qaida and combat extremism, because I will not allow terrorists to plot against the American people from safe havens halfway around the world. We will not allow it." Obama didn’t mention the additional number of U.S. troops -- 17,000 -- that he has just ordered to Afghanistan...

Obama’s Iraq withdrawal plan sets stage for continued war
26.02.09. Bill Van Auken, WSWS / uruknet. In his first address to a joint session of Congress Tuesday night, President Barack Obama promised that he would "soon announce a way forward in Iraq that leaves Iraq to its people and responsibly ends this war." The US president offered no details about his plan. Subsequent leaks from within the administration and the Pentagon, however, have made it clear that, as with so much of his high-flown but ambiguous rhetoric, the vagueness was deliberately crafted to mask a lie—or in this case, two lies / … Obama's plan will neither end the war nor "leave Iraq to its people."

Iraqis 'impatient' for handover
27.02.09. BBC. Iraqis are "impatient" to run their own affairs once British and US troops have left the country, UK Foreign Secretary David Miliband has told the BBC.

The Silence of the Liberals As Obama launches "war on terrorism" II
27.02.09. J. Raimondo, anti-war. In short: we aren't leaving.

Drawdown Plan May Leave Combat Brigades in Iraq
27.02.09. Analysis by Gareth Porter*, uruknet. President Barack Obama has given military commanders a free hand to determine the size and composition of a residual force in Iraq up to 50,000 troops, apparently including the option of leaving one or more combat brigades or bringing them from the United States, after the August 2010 deadline for the ostensible withdrawal of all combat brigades now in Iraq. Although the ostensible purpose of the combat brigades remaining in Iraq would be to protect other U.S. troops in the country, they would also provide the kind of combat capability that U.S. commanders have wanted to maintain to deal with a broad range of contingencies...

Obama announces plan to continue US military occupation of Iraq
28.02.09. WSWS. Far from bringing the war to an end, the plans will maintain present troop levels for one year and ensure a substantial military presence for at least three years, through the end of 2011. / As leaked to the press earlier this week, Obama's plan calls for the withdrawal of all "combat troops" by August 31, 2010, 19 months after his inauguration. This means that the US military presence will continue at present levels through the Iraqi elections scheduled in the fall, ensuring that the occupying forces can maintain a watchful eye over the "democratic" process. / Obama also said that all US soldiers would be out of Iraq by the end of 2011, as required by the Status of Forces Agreement reached by the Bush administration and the Iraqi government in 2008. In a press conference call on Friday, Defense Secretary Robert Gates indicated that this deadline is largely a diplomatic fiction that could be altered. "My own view would be that we should be prepared to have some very modest-sized presence for training and helping them with their new equipment and providing, perhaps, intelligence support and so on," past 2011, he said.

All Troops Out By 2011? Not So Fast; Why Obama's Iraq Speech Deserves a Second Look
28.02.09. Jeremy Scahill, Alternet. Obama's speech at Camp Lejeune delivered a number of lines -- wrapped in laudatory rhetoric -- that could have been delivered by Bush himself. . As far as rhetoric goes, Obama's statement seems very clear. But in reality, it is far more complicated. Obama's plan, as his advisors have often said, is subject to "conditions on the ground," meaning it can be altered at any point between now and 2011. / … the Pentagon certainly seems to believe its forces may well be in Iraq after 2011./ … Then there's the monstrous U.S. embassy unveiled last month in Baghdad, the largest of any nation anywhere in the history of the planet and itself resembling a military base. Maintaining this fortified city will require a sizable armed U.S. presence in Baghdad and will regularly place U.S. diplomats in armed convoys that put Iraqi civilian lives in jeopardy./ … the Status of Forces Agreement, which supposedly lays out a timetable for U.S. withdrawal, contains a gaping loophole that leaves open the possibility of a continuation of the occupation and a sustained presence of U.S. forces well beyond 2011, "upon request by the government of Iraq."/ … The same Democratic leaders expressing their disappointment ignored the credible voices of dissent for years while supporting the occupation through votes and funding. That they would wait to express their dissent until long after it would actually have had an impact is one of the best examples of what has been so wrong with the Democrats' role from the beginning of President George W. Bush's declaration of war against the world and his 2003 invasion of Iraq../ … The contradiction between President Obama's speech at Camp Lejeune and his rhetoric before he was elected should serve as a warning to those who take his words at face value. But more important, combined with his plan to escalate the war in Afghanistan, Obama's adoption of key lies from Bush's Iraq narrative should be seen as a dangerous indicator of things to come.

March 2009

Gates Defends Iraq Withdrawal Plan
01.03.09. NY Times. “Let me say this as plainly as I can: by Aug. 31, 2010, our combat mission in Iraq will end.” / .. When pressed how the administration came up with the number 50,000 for the remaining troops, Mr. Gates responded that the figure came from a dialogue with the joint chiefs and their chairman, Admiral Mike Mullen, commanders in the field and the president. / “So having a somewhat larger residual, or transition, force, mitigates the risk of having the combat units go out sooner,” Mr. Gates said. / He said that the remaining forces, who would no longer be called “combat troops” but rather “advisory and assistance brigades,” would be consolidated to a limited number of bases to mitigate risk.

The Iraqi Resistance Responds to President Obama
02.03.09. Rafican / ICH. There is no such thing asfriendly occupation, and we advise you to revise your plans to vacate Iraq at a time suitable for our people and not suitable for your agents in the green zone.

Wars, Endless Wars
02.03.09. Bob Herbert, NY Times Op Ed. The U.S. economy is in free fall, the banking system is in a state of complete collapse and Americans all across the country are downsizing their standards of living. The nation as we’ve known it is fading before our very eyes, but we’re still pouring billions of dollars into wars in Afghanistan and Iraq with missions we are still unable to define. / In short, we’re committed to these two conflicts for a good while yet, and there is nothing like an etched-in-stone plan for concluding them. I can easily imagine a scenario in which Afghanistan and Iraq both heat up and the U.S., caught in an extended economic disaster at home, undermines its fragile recovery efforts in the same way that societies have undermined themselves since the dawn of time — with endless warfare.

It’s Obama’s War, Now
02.03.09. Chris Hedges, Truthdig. Barack Obama has shown that he is as capable of doublespeak as any other politician when he announced an end to the war in Iraq. Combat troops are to be pulled out of Iraq by August 2010, he said, but some 50,000 occupation troops will remain behind. Someone should let the Iraqis know the distinction. I doubt any soldier or Marine in Iraq will notice much difference in 19 months. Many combat units will simply be relabeled as noncombat units. And what about our small army of well! -paid contractors and mercenaries? Will Dyncorp, Bechtel, Blackwater (which recently changed its name to Xe), all of whom have made fortunes off the war, pack up and go home? What about the three large super-bases, dozens of smaller military outposts and our imperial city, the Green Zone? Will American corporations give up their lucrative control of Iraqi oil? The occupation of Iraq will not be disrupted. Lies and deception, which launched the war in the first place, are being employed by Democrats to maintain it. This is not a withdrawal. It is occupation lite... Iraq, because of our invasion and occupation, no longer exists as a unified country...

With Iraq plan, Obama embraces US militarism
02.03.09. WSWS. In extending the full-scale US occupation of Iraq for another 18 months, and acceding to the timetable already adopted by the Bush administration for a tentative pullout by the end of 2011, President Barack Obama has done more than betray the hopes of the millions of antiwar voters who supported his candidacy in 2008. / He has fully identified the incoming Democratic Party administration with the fraudulent arguments employed by the Bush White House to justify the ongoing war in Iraq, after its initial claims about "weapons of mass destruction" and ties between Iraq and the 9/11 terrorist attacks had been proven to be lies. / Obama's speech to thousands of Marines at Camp Lejeune was an effort to legitimize the US conquest and occupation of Iraq and present the American military as an instrument of liberation rather than imperialist war and oppression.

Obama Expands War, Slaps Peace Voters
02.03.09. Jack A. Smith, uruknet. The Obama Administration has engineered a triple setback for the U.S. peace movement and the millions of Americans who opposed the Bush Administration’s unjust, illegal, immoral wars. In the last two weeks of February, President Barack Obama — upon whom so many peace supporters had counted to change Washington’s commitment to wars and militarism — delivered these three blows to his antiwar constituency: 1. By ordering 17,000 more U.S. troops to Afghanistan, President Obama is continuing and expanding George W. Bush’s war. It’s Obama’s war now, and it’s getting much bigger. 2. By declaring Feb. 27 that up to 50,000 U.S. soldiers would remain in Iraq after "combat brigades" departed, President Obama is continuing the war in a country that remains a tragic victim of the Bush Administration’s aggression and which has taken the lives of over a million Iraqi civilians and has made refugees of 4.5 million people. 3. By announcing Feb. 26 that his projected 2010 Pentagon budget was to be even higher than budgets sought by the Bush Administration, President Obama was signaling that his commitment to the U.S. bloated war machine — even at a time of serious economic recession — was not to be questioned..

Iraqi Kurds dreading US troop withdrawal
05.03.09. Mohammed A Salih, Asia Times. Recently, Kurdish Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani gave his interpretation of the term "responsible". / "I restate that the role of the United States should be to help resolve the problems in Iraq such as Article 140, the oil law, and the law on the distribution of its oil wealth," Barzani told reporters in the northern city of Irbil, tallying the list of contentious issues between Kurds and the Iraqi government. / Article 140 refers to a constitutional provision to settle the critical issue of disputed territories between Kurds and Iraqi Arabs, including the gold-prize contested city of Kirkuk which is afloat on some of the world's largest oil reserves.

05.03.09. Media Lens. Politicians typically hide their ruthlessness behind compassionate verbiage. Obama, we are to believe, is hiding his compassion behind ruthless verbiage - Machiavellianism in reverse.

Obama's Failure On War, Economy And Climate Genocide
06.03.09. Gideon Polya, MWC News / countercurrents. Obama has been in office for only about 40 days and 40 nights but the deluge of bad news and broken promises persists - despite the marvellous Obama rhetoric. 1. Apartheid Israel, Gaza Concentration Camp, Occupied Palestine, Palestinian Holocaust and Genocide. 2. Occupied Afghanistan, Afghan Holocaust and Afghan Genocide. 3. Financial Crisis, Recession, Depression, Banks and Bankers. 4. Climate Change, Climate Disruption, Climate Emergency and Climate Action. 5. Occupied Iraq, Iraqi Holocaust and Iraqi Genocide. 6. Global Avoidable Mortality, Mass Murder and Climate Genocide. 7. War, Zionism and Carbon-burning Lobbyists.


Obama's Iraq pullout plan - 22 Jan 09 (1.38 min)

Inside Iraq - Obama's pullout plan - 6 Mar 09 - Part 2

Iraq withdrawal raises concerns for elite forces
07.03.09. Lolita C. Baldor, AP. As the U.S. readies the pullout of its major combat units from Iraq, officials are concerned that the Pentagon's Green Berets and other elite anti-terror warriors staying behind won't have the helicopters, equipment and other logistical support they need.

Generic Invader Nonsense: Obama on Iraq
07.03.09. Media Lens/uruknet. As a presidential candidate, Barrack Obama described the war in Iraq as one that "should never have been authorised and never been waged." On February 27, as president, Obama saw it differently.

Solicitation for Media Team in Iraq Hints at Contracting-Overhaul Snags
08.03.09. Walter Pincus, Washington Post. The Army wants a private firm to provide a seven-member media team to support the public affairs officer of the 25th Infantry Division, now serving as Multi-National Division-North in Iraq -- at least three media specialists, two Arab speakers, a Web manager in Iraq and a media specialist stateside. / ... President Barack Obama called last week for the Defense Department to stop outsourcing services that the government could perform. A look at solicitations last week on the Web site showed more than 40 notices about new and modified contracts for Iraq and Afghanistan, including contracts for building an air-traffic control tower at an Iraq air base, providing security guards for U.S. military facilities in Iraq and hiring a new Food for Peace officer in Afghanistan.

12,000 US troops to exit Iraq by autumn
08.03.09. AP. A statement from the Pentagon said two combat brigades would be withdrawn by September. / The Iraqi government also confirmed that the withdrawal of 4,000 British troops from the country's south, already announced by Gordon Brown, would go ahead as planned by July.

EXCLUSIVE: Top General in Iraq Says 'If They Ask Us to Stay We Will Probably Stay'
09.03.09. ABC / ICH. Gen. Ray Odierno, the top U.S. military commander in Iraq, said that continuing the fight against insurgents in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul might lead to U.S. troops remaining in the city past a June 30, 2009 deadline for all U.S. combat troops to leave Iraqi cities

Obama’s New York Times interview: Military aggression and attacks on democratic rights to continue
10.03.09. Barry Grey, WSWS. In an extensive interview conducted last Friday with the New York Times and published on Sunday, President Barack Obama outlined policies on national security and foreign affairs that underscore the essential continuity between his administration and that of his predecessor, George W. Bush. / The interview made clear that the new administration has embraced the basic political and ideological framework of the Bush administration to justify military aggression and illegality internationally and attacks on democratic rights within the United States—the so-called "global war on terror." / … "I think it would be hard to argue, Jeff," he said. "We have delivered [sic] on every promise that we've made so far. We said that we would end the war in Iraq and we've put forward a responsible plan."

"Responsible" is a code word for delaying any significant draw-down of US troops until the end of the year, in line with the demands of the military, and abandoning his campaign pledge to withdraw one combat brigade a month and all "combat" forces within 16 months. In the plan for Iraq that Obama announced last month, a residual force of up to 50,000 so-called "non-combat" troops will remain in Iraq at least until the end of 2011.

Holding Obama to His Promises
11.03.09. Phyllis Bennis, anti-war. The meaning of President Obama's Iraq withdrawal speech, and its influence on real U.S. policy in Iraq, will not be determined solely by his actual words. The import of the speech – and whether its promises become real – will be determined by a fluid combination of what Obama says, his own definitions of what he says, and the disparate ways his speech is heard, perceived, described, and contested by others – the mainstream media, Congress, the military, other centers of elite power, and crucially, the peace movement. / The words of the speech were quite amazing: "And under the status of forces agreement with the Iraqi government, I intend to remove all U.S. troops from Iraq by the end of 2011. We will complete this transition to Iraqi responsibility, and we will bring our troops home." Ending the War: A Definition: And at the end of the day, President Obama did not make a single real commitment to meeting our definition of ending the war. Who Opposes, Who Supports?: Leading Democrats, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Leader Harry Reid, criticized Obama's plan for leaving 50,000 or more U.S. troops in Iraq after the withdrawal of "combat brigades." it was key Republicans – including Sen. John McCain – who voiced immediate support for Obama's withdrawal plan. Clearly they understand the huge loopholes inherent in the "withdrawal" strategy. They recognize the limited character of Obama's pledges. Military leaders, including top U.S. generals in Iraq and the region, heads of the joint chiefs of staff, and the Republican secretary of defense, have also expressed support. Of course they are the most familiar with all the wiggle room in the plan. Our Job: Make Him Do It

As Troops Withdraw, Iraq Provincial Reconstruction Teams to Change
11.03.09. Washington independent. Since 2005, small groups made of U.S. diplomats, military officers, development experts and legal advisers called Provincial Reconstruction Teams have worked with Iraqi leaders at the province and district levels around the country to bolster their capacity to govern. In an application of untraditional diplomatic work that some in and outside the State Department see as vital in weak or failed states, the teams help Iraqis write and execute budgets and aid in the development of their judicial systems. While the drawdown and eventual withdrawal of U.S. troops in Iraq will ultimately mean the end of the PRTs, “the PRT program is not going to disappear anytime soon,” said Wade Weems, the Department of State’s Director of Provincial Reconstruction, Transition and Stabilization for Iraq. We’re not leaving more quickly than the military.” … In addition to the 14 PRTs, there are also ten teams that work at the district level, known as Embedded Provincial Reconstruction Teams, or ePRTs, owing to their status as embedded units within the U.S. Army’s Brigade Combat Teams. Over the course of the next 15 months, the Brigade Combat Teams will leave Iraq or transition into Advisory and Assistance Brigades.

Obama’s Manufactured Troop’s Withdrawal
12.03.09. Ghali Hassan, countercurrents. On February 27, 2009, President Barack Obama announced to withdraw U.S. troops occupying Iraq by September of 2010. However, Obama’s withdrawal is nothing short of a colonial Occupation of Iraq, and a betrayal of Mr. Obama’s promise to end the U.S. war on the Iraqi people.

US troops to remain active in Iraq after pullback
15.03.09. Reuters. American forces will still conduct joint combat operations even after they pull back to bases outside Baghdad and other cities as part of the U.S.-Iraqi security agreement, a spokesman [Brig. Gen. Frederick Rudesheim] said Sunday. / "I want to leave it very clear that there's no cessation of combat operations," Rudesheim said at a news conference in Baghdad's heavily guarded Green Zone.

In Iraq withdrawal, equipment poses a key logistical challenge (16.03.09. LA Times)

Video & Transcript: “Engaging the Muslim World”–Middle East Analyst Juan Cole on US Policy in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Israel and Beyond (17.03.09. Democracy Now)

Six Years Later: Iraq War Continues Apace
18.03.09. anti-war. An Illusory Pullout Scheme and 138,000 Troops - Will The War Ever End?

Hopes High, Violence Low, But Problems Remain at 6th Anniversary of Iraq War (19.03.09. VOA)

PROMISES, PROMISES: Obama rhetoric, reality clash
20.03.09. AP. In office two months, he has backpedaled on an array of issues, gingerly shifting positions as circumstances dictate while ducking for political cover to avoid undercutting his credibility and authority. That's happened on the Iraq troop withdrawal timeline, on lobbyists in his administration and on money for lawmakers' pet projects.

Iraq Freezes 66,000 New Police Hires, Minister Says (Update3)
22.03.09. Bloomberg. Iraq’s interior minister has frozen the hiring of 66,000 new members of the security forces due to falling oil prices, a cutback that he said will not endanger U.S. plans to withdraw troops as the insurgency is in its “final throes.”

US general: American forces may not leave key Iraqi cities (27.03.09. CSM.)

Despite Obama’s Vow, Combat Brigades Will Stay in Iraq
25.03.09. Gareth Porter, uruknet. Despite President Barack Obama’s statement at Camp LeJeune, North Carolina Feb. 27 that he had "chosen a timeline that will remove our combat brigades over the next 18 months," a number of Brigade Combat Teams (BCTs), which have been the basic U.S. Army combat unit in Iraq for six years, will remain in Iraq after that date under a new non-combat label. A spokesman for Defence Secretary Robert M. Gates, Lt. Col. Patrick S. Ryder, told IPS Tuesday that "several advisory and assistance brigades" would be part of a U.S. command in Iraq that will be "re-designated" as a "transition force headquarters" after August 2010...


Newton peace activists say Obama withdrawal plan is not enough (13.03.09,

Nation's Largest Peace Group Laments Sixth Anniversary of War in Iraq
18.03.09. Common Dreams. Peace Action Calls on President Obama to end occupation of Iraq swiftly and completely and to re-consider surge of U.S. troops to Afghanistan

Hundreds rally in Japan on Iraq war anniversary (20.03.09. AFP)

Protests in Washington, Calif. call for war's end
21.03.09. AP / legitgov. Seven out of ten people questioned in a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey released Thursday, the sixth anniversary of the start of the Iraq war, say they support the president's announced plan to remove most U.S. troops from Iraq by August of next year but keep a force of 35,000 to 50,000 in the country.

Demonstrators in LA, SF press for end to Iraq war (21.03.09. mercury news / legitgov)

Protesters Mark Milestone
22.03.09. Wash. Post / TruthOut. Thousands of demonstrators (at the Pentagon) marked the sixth anniversary of the war in Iraq with an impassioned protest of the nation's military policies yesterday, demanding that President Obama bring U.S. troops home. / The demonstration was the first in Washington of the Obama presidency, replete with many of the same messages of protests during the Bush era. Placards read "War Is Not the Answer," "Troops Out Now" and "We Need Jobs and Schools, Not War."

Students to march in protest of Iraq War(25.03.09. Indiana daily student)

CNN Poll: Americans back Iraq troop withdrawal plan (19.03.09. CNN)

Soldier suicides skyrocket
19.03.09. salon / legitgov. But a tepid Senate hearing on Wednesday, with no testimony from lower-ranking combat troops from Iraq or Afghanistan, does little to explain why.

Obama: won't speed up Iraq pull out
30.03.09. AP. "I think the plan that we put forward in Iraq is the right one" because it calls for "a very gradual withdrawal through the national elections in Iraq," he said in an interviewed aired Sunday on CBS' "Face the Nation." .. "I'm confident that we're moving in the right direction. But Iraq is not yet completed. We still have a lot of work to do," the president said of the war that's winding down after six hard-fought years.

The Troops Aren’t Coming Home
30.03.09. Aaron Glantz, Examiner. But the time-line of the drawdown is back-loaded with the first US troops not scheduled to come home until this September – and even then our force in Iraq will only be reduced by 12,000. / At that point, approximately 135,000 US troops will still occupy the country. That’s the same number that invaded Iraq back in March 2003.

The Logistical Nightmare in Iraq
30.03.09. Alternet / ICH. Jeremy Scahill 283 Bases, 170,000 Pieces of Equipment, 140,000 Troops, and an Army of Mercenaries. In the latest episode of Occupation Rebranded, it was revealed that the administration intends to reclassify some combat forces as "advisory and assistance brigades." While Obama's administration is officially shunning the use of the term "global war on terror," the labels du jour, unfortunately, seem to be the biggest changes we will see for some time.

April 2009

Interview: Top US commander in Iraq
02.04.09. CSM. Gen. Raymond Odierno says that despite a goal of pulling out of all Iraqi cities by June, he won't repeat the mistakes of the past and rush withdrawing from areas that could revert to ‘insurgents' control.

President Obama and Iraq: Toward a Responsible Troop Drawdown
02.04.09. Heritage. The Iran Policy Committee (IPC) launched its fourth book in a series at the National Press Club today looking at the situation in Iraq, titled President Obama and Iraq: Toward a Responsible Troop Drawdown. / The book seeks to provide a dispassionate view of the situation in Iraq and the drawdown with an eye to Obama’s plans for Afghanistan and Pakistan. / A key finding was that the withdrawal of American forces in Iraq is likely to give a significant opening to Iran.

Obama’s ‘Scientific’ Prostitution

Procuring Academics for Empire: The Pentagon Minerva Research Initiative
04.04.09. James Petras, ICH. The Pentagon is seriously engaged in this military-academic empire building strategy, allocating almost 100 million dollars to contracting academic collaborators and funding multiple ‘research’ projects throughout the world against targeted states, movements and communities: The “Minerva Research Initiative” (MRI)

"The Business of War"
The Truthdig Podcast: Karen Kwiatowski, Lew Rockwell / Truthdig. Pentagon whistle-blower Karen Kwiatowski returns to the Truthdig podcast to take stock of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, which she says are effectively “a government jobs program for the military and military contractors.”

VIDEO: Inside Iraq - Obama's pullout plan - 6 Mar 09 - Part 1 ; Part 2

Obama Should Listen to Iraqis, Not Lecture Them
08.04.09. Jonathan Steele, Guardian / Common Dreams. More worryingly, Obama is increasingly adopting a narrative of the US presence that sounds like the Bush version. US troops, Bush always used to say, are in Iraq to defend democracy and provide security until the Iraqis are ready to step up to the plate. Obama now says the same, and expresses concern that as US troops start to leave Iraq violence may resume. It's comforting and paternalistic stuff, designed to paint a picture of neutral peacekeepers nobly holding the ring until the natives grow up or come to their senses. / … Why doesn't Obama consult Iraqi opinion? The latest poll, by the BBC and ABC in February, shows that nothing has changed in the longstanding majority view that the occupation forces (British as much as the Americans) have not been a bastion of security. They have been the problem more than the solution. Sixty-nine per cent said they had "done a bad job". Forty-six per cent think they should leave Iraq before the end of 2011, while 35% said the timetable is right. Less than 20% want them to stay longer. One reason is that Iraqis by a 53% majority view the US as still running the country. Another is that 59% already think Iraqi forces are capable of providing sufficient security. / … On Tuesday Obama told US troops rather haughtily that it was "time for Iraqis to take responsibility for their country". He should listen rather than lecture. Iraqis have been trying to give the US that very message for quite some time.

Will Obama Vacate Iraq?
08.04.09. Nasir Khan, uruknet. On February 27, 2009 President Barack Obama delivered his much-anticipated policy speech on Iraq. The important point in his announcement was the withdrawal of some U.S. troops from Iraq by August 31, 2010. However, it did not mean an end to the American occupation of Iraq, or an end to an illegal genocidal war that the Bush-Cheney administration had started. Despite his high-blown rhetoric about withdrawing from Iraq, Obama did not deal with many important questions. Thus what was not said cannot be regarded as an oversight but rather as an indication of how the new administration intends to pursue its policy objectives. Those who had wished to see a break by the new administration with the Bush-Cheney administration’s wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are concerned because they detect the continuation of the goal of the U.S. domination, which the American rulers usually refer to as the 'U.S. interests’ in the region....

US Military Budget
Up Is Down: The Military Budget
08.04.09. David Swanson, After Downing Street / Creative-i. The largest military budget in the history of the world is being increased. Certain weapons are being cut back, others expanded. But the overall budget is going UP. However, you don’t need me to tell you that. You’ve learned it from these fine news sources …

Cost of Iraq war will surpass that of Vietnam war by year's end
08.04.09. Julian E. Barnes, uruknet. If Congress approves a request for another $87 billion, the Iraq war will have cost about $694 billion. The Vietnam war cost $686 billion in inflation-adjusted dollars; World War II cost $4 trillion.

Obama to seek $83.4 billion for Iraq, Afghan wars
09.04.09. AP. … pressing for a war supplemental spending bill like the ones he sometimes opposed when he was senator and George W. Bush was president.

Will Democrats Stand Up to Obama’s Bloated Military Budget? (10.04.09. J. Scahill)

Hill Response to Plans Pleases Pentagon Chief
15.04.09. Wash Post / anti-war. Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates said Tuesday that he has been "pleasantly surprised" by the response from lawmakers to his plans for shifting billions of dollars in Pentagon spending toward programs of immediate benefit to today's wars.

Video and Transcript: General Odierno on CNN’s State of the Union

Gen. Odierno: US May Ignore Iraq Deadline Because of al-Qaeda
09.04.09. anti-war. In yet another sign that the Obama Administration’s “pullout” timeline for Iraq is not set in stone, General Ray Odierno told The Times today that US combat troops may remain in Iraq’s cities beyond the June 30 deadline mandated by the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA). He pointed to increased trouble from al-Qaeda as the justification. … / this appears to be the first time the top commander in Iraq has publicly acknowledged that things are not going according to schedule.

'US behind recent Iraq bomb attacks'
09.04.09. An Iraqi lawmaker alleges that 'the occupiers' are behind the recent bomb blasts in Iraq basing his claims on the fact that the US has access to Iraq's security and intelligence files. Maha al-Dori, a member of Sadr fraction in the Iraqi parliament said that "the occupiers are causing disarray in Iraq with aim of at taking control over the country's affairs." [Not to mention, oil.]

Obama's Iraq troop withdrawal plan hits a snag
10.04.09. capitol hill blue. A dramatic increase in al-Qaeda violence in Masul and Baqubah may doom President Barack Obama's plans to withdraw combat troops from Iraq. The top American general this week told The Times of London that more troops may be needed to control violence in those two troubled cities.

Sadrists condemn 'politically-motivated' arrests
10.04.09. presstv. Ir/legitgov. "We say to those who carry out such arrest operations that what goes around comes around," said Abdel Hadi Mohammedawi, a cleric close to influential Shia leader Moqtada al-Sadr.

Meanwhile, a bit of US military corruption

Some U.S. troops tempted by reconstruction cash
12.04.09. LA Times. The Justice Department has secured more than three dozen bribery-related convictions in the awarding of reconstruction contracts in Iraq and Afghanistan. At least 25 theft investigations are underway.

Troops Stole Boxes of Iraq Reconstruction Cash ... Literally ... But There's a Lot More to the Story
13.04.09. Liliana Segura, AlterNet. A wave of prosecutions and some 25 "theft probes" are underway, but it's the inevitable result of a Pentagon policy that has bred rampant corruption.

US troops 'might stay in N Iraq'
14.04.09. BBC. US combat troops may stay in northern Iraq after a deadline for them to pull back by the end of June has passed, the top US commander in the area [Col Gary Volesky] has said.

Murky origins of Iraq attacks stir foreboding
14.04.09. Reuters. Violence in Iraq remains sharply down on past years, when most attacks were blamed on al Qaeda or Shi'ite militias, but uncertainty about the origins of the recent violence has led to an incendiary mix of conspiracy theories and accusations.

Naomi Klein on Hopeover, Hopercoaster, Hopesick, Hopefiend, Hopebreak, Hopelash, with a quote from Studs Terkel: “"Hope has never trickled down. It has always sprung up." here.

Iraq says attacks will not derail US withdrawal
17.04.09. AFP. "(Al-Qaeda) is trying to regain power through terrorist operations aimed at proving its existence and raising its spirits ahead of the withdrawal of US forces from the cities," defence ministry spokesman Mohammed al-Askari said.

Another quagmire

Injured in Iraq and Afghanistan, Contractors Fight AIG for Medical Care
18.04.09. allgov. Private security and logistics contractors who come home wounded from Afghanistan and Iraq face an insurance-created nightmare, according to a joint investigation by
ProPublica and the Los Angeles Times
. Unlike wounded members of the US military, who receive medical care, rehab, and other services from the Defense Department, civilian workers have had to rely on insurance companies paid by the federal government to get the care they need—and, in many instances, they have had to fight for months or even years to get companies like AIG to live up to their contractual obligations. Many of the workers, who totaled 200,000 in Iraq and Afghanistan last year, lost limbs or suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

US Shadows Over the UK

British troop withdrawal from Basra to begin by end of March (27.02.09. rtt news)

Majority of Britons Wants Iraq War Public Inquiry, Poll Finds (16.03.09. Bloomberg)

Gordon Brown to order Iraq inquiry
22.03.09. news of the world. War review starts after troops leave. Senior Whitehall sources say he will also appoint a senior British Muslim, possibly a judge, to carry out the inquiry. / It will have access to intelligence used to justify the invasion and records of the Cabinet’s discussions before the war. It is also expected to review the Army’s performance in the invasion and its aftermath. The report will be designed to clear up loose ends from the Hutton Inquiry into the death of weapons of mass destruction expert Dr David Kelly, as well as the Butler Review into intelligence used before the war. 14.04.09: Brown seeks to delay until after election.

Britain and Iraq: fortunes of war
14.04.09. Guardian leader. Iraq may already be fading from the headlines, but it casts a long shadow.

British intelligence prosecution fear over US torture memos
18.04.09. Times Online. Fresh revelations about the CIA’s torture techniques have thrown the spotlight on British Intelligence, which gained valuable insight into terror networks from confessions extracted by American officers. They have raised further fears that British agents could be prosecuted for their indirect role in the abuse of detainees.


You have given Iraq the opportunity to stand on its own as a democratic country. That is an extraordinary achievement, and for that you have the thanks of the American people." Barack Obama, 7 April 2009.

Following is a short record of recent "extraordinary achievements"

No. 1. Over One Million Iraqi Deaths Caused by US Occupation
PROJECT CENSORED. Top 25 stories for 2009.

Dr. Faleh Al Khayat: Speech in the European Parliament
18.03.09. BRussels Tribunal. … Iraq, because it was weakened during the .. fourteen years of sanctions, and because of the destruction of part of its infrastructure, especially the military infrastructure, it was ready to fall by a small force of occupying power and to prove it 50 to 60 thousand American soldiers walked from the Kuweiti boarder all the way to Iraq. So, let’s occupy this country. But what did this occupation result into? The Americans and the occupying powers thought they will keep the oil industry intact and I have to tell you, they did not bomb any oil installation. / But, what happened after the occupation was an extensive looting and pillage that destroyed a lot of equipment and systems that deal with oil production. The damage was so bad that, two months before the war were producing 2.8 million barrels per day on average and we haven’t achieved that figure till today, six years after the occupation./ … Now is starting the real fight between the people who are controlling Iraq today about the division of the cake of the Iraqi oil industry, simply because it may be feasible that international oil companies might come into Iraq./ … we should not commit ourselves, Iraq, never commit itself to 25-year-contracts, under the present circumstances. Let us do short term contracts, let us rebuild our refineries, let us buy equipment, but no 25-year-contracts, until there is a revision of the constitution, which we were promised 4 years ago, there is a national reconsiliation, which we were promised for years and unless there is a concensus that who is ruling us represents our adequate majority.

Baghdad will not be subjugated
18.03.09. Abdul Ilah Albayaty: Speech in the European Parliament, BRussels Tribunal. … And in its invasion, the US followed a clear plan, and it was to destroy Iraq economically, politically and militarily, and to force its partition, and to destroy its thinking, and all its capacity to build. For the United States, the important thing is to control Iraq’s oil. And for this it poured on us problems … For six years we see nothing except destruction and killing and prisons and prisoners and kidnappings. Why? Because without the destruction of the essential values of Iraqi society, controlling Iraq is not possible.

Iraq: A forgotten humanitarian disaster
21.03.09. Lieven De Cauter, BRussells Tribunal/uruknet. The sixth anniversary of the invasion of Iraq is a sad occasion for the balance sheet: during six years of occupation 1.2 million citizens were killed, 2,000 doctors killed, and 5,500 academics and intellectuals assassinated or imprisoned. There are 4.7 million refugees: 2.7 million inside the country and two million have fled to neighbouring countries, among which are 20,000 medical doctors. According to the Red Cross, Iraq is now a country of widows and orphans: two million widows as a consequence of war, embargo, war again and occupation, and five million orphans, many of whom are homeless (estimated at 500,000). Almost a third of Iraq’s children suffer from malnutrition. Some 70 per cent of Iraqi girls no longer go to school. Medical services, not so long ago the best in the region, have totally collapsed: 75 per cent of medical staff have left their jobs, half of them have fled the country, and after six years of "reconstruction" health services in Iraq still do not meet minimum standards.

Because of the use of depleted uranium in ammunition by the occupation, the number of cancer cases and miscarriages has drastically increased.

Let the Numbers Speak
26.03.09. Dr. Souad N. Al-Azzawi, BRussels Tribunal.

Six years into the occupation

- 72 months of destruction

- $607 Billions spent on the war

- 2 Million Barrels of oil being sold per day

- 2 Million Displaced Iraqis inside of Iraq

- 3 Million Iraqis forced to leave the country

- 2615 professors, scientists, and doctors killed in cold blood

- 338 dead journalists

- $13 Billion misplaced by the current Iraqi government

- $400 Billion required to rebuild the Iraqi infrastructure

- 3 hours average of electricity daily

- 24 car bombs per month

- 7 major mafias running the country

- 4260 Americans dead

- 10,000 cases of cholera per year

- 50 of my friends dead

- 22 of my relatives dead

- 15 abductions of close relatives and people I know and love

- At least 1.3 million Iraqis dead since 2003.

Iraqi protesters call for US exit
10.04.09. al jazeera. "The US has said verbally that it will end the occupation but we do not know what the real ambition of the invaders is. They could yet say there is no stability in the country and extend their presence there. "I think that every Iraqi wants US troops out of the country because what has occurred is the'Fallujah never leaves my mind'

'Fallujah never leaves my mind'
09.04.09. Laith Mushtaq, uruknet. Laith Mushtaq was one of only two non-embedded cameramen working throughout the April 2004 'battle for Fallujah' in which 600 civilians died. Five years on, he recounts the events he witnessed and filmed.. Interview by Stephanie Doetzer

Iraqi babies for sale: people trafficking crisis grows in corrupt system
06.04.09. Guardian. At least 150 children a year sold for £200 to £4,000 --Some bartered youngsters become sex abuse victims. Some bartered youngsters become sex abuse victims

Displaced Iraqis unwilling, unable to return home (09.04.09. Refugees International / Relief Web)

Dahr Jamail Photo © Sarah Meyer June 2007.

JFK had some very good advisors. President Obama would do well to listen to Dahr Jamail

The Growing Storm
02.04.09. Dahr Jamail, Truthout. Trouble with US-hired death squads in Iraq as the US policy of Divide and Rule continues. Last weekend, the Iraqi government arrested an Awakening Group leader of a Baghdad neighborhood, then moved into the area. With the help of US occupation forces, they disarmed the militiamen under his control, but only after fighting broke out between US-backed Iraqi government security forces and the US-formed Sunni Awakening Group militia. This disturbing event is the realization of what most Iraqis have long feared - that the relative calm! in Iraq today would eventually be broken when fighting erupts between these two entities. The US policy that has led to this recent violence has been long in the making, as it has only been a matter of time before the tenuous truce between the groups came unglued...

Iraq in Fragments
10.04.09. Dahr Jamail, FPIF. On Wednesday, March 25, Major General David Perkins of the U.S. military, referring to how often the U.S. military was being attacked in Iraq, told reporters in Baghdad, "Attacks are at their lowest since August 2003." Perkins added, "There were 1,250 attacks a week at the height of the violence; now sometimes there are less than 100 a week." / While his rhetoric made headlines in some U.S. mainstream media outlets, it was little consolation for the families of 28 Iraqis killed in attacks across Iraq the following day. Nor did it bring solace to the relatives of the 27 Iraqis slain in a March 23 suicide attack, or those who survived a bomb attack at a bus terminal in Baghdad on the same day that killed nine Iraqis. / Having recently returned from Iraq, I experienced living in Baghdad where people were dying violent deaths on a daily basis. Nearly every day of the month I spent there saw a car bomb attack somewhere in the capital city. Nearly every day the so-called Green Zone was mortared. Every day there were kidnappings. On good days there were four hours of electricity on the national grid, in a country now into its seventh year of being occupied by the U.S. military, and where there are now over 200,000 private contractors.

Upon returning home, I experienced the disconnect between that reality, lived by roughly 25 million Iraqis, and the surreal experience of living in the United States — where most media pretend the occupation of Iraq is either not happening, or uses the yardstick of decreased U.S. military personnel deaths in Iraq as a measure of success. In the words of Major General Perkins, "If you take a look at military deaths, which is an indicator of violence and lethality out there, U.S. combat deaths are at their lowest levels since the war began six years ago." But it's a less useful metric when one looks at the broader picture inside of Iraq: the ongoing daily slaughter of Iraqis, the near total lack of functional infrastructure, the fact that one in six Iraqis remains displaced from their homes, or that at least 1.2 million Iraqis have died as a result of the U.S.-led invasion and occupation of their country. …

All of the recent talk of withdrawal from Iraq is empty rhetoric indeed to most Iraqis, who see the giant “enduring” U.S. military bases spread across their country, or the U.S. “embassy,” the size of the Vatican City, in Baghdad. The gulf between the rhetoric of withdrawal and the reality on the ground spans the distance between Iraq and the United States, while the reality is pressed in the face of the Iraqi people each day the occupation continues.

FILM: Iraq in Fragments

No Coincidences in Iraq
13.04.09. Dahr Jamail, Obama was a harsh critic of the Bush administration tactic of avoiding placing the costs of both occupations in the overall military budget, yet now he is doing the same.

Human Body Parts
18.04.09. In Iraq, time leaves bloody marks upon each day of the ongoing US occupation. The policies of the Obama administration, adopted from the Bush administration, continue to wreak their havoc on the Iraqi people. [Dahr describes “complicating matters” in various sectors of Iraq]

the Walls of Baghdad

An Iraqi City Divided by Walls, by Sect, By Bitterness
12.04.09. Sudarsan Raghavan, Washington Post Foreign Service/ uruknet. Fifteen feet tall, half a mile long, the walls wind like a concrete ribbon through the heart of this scarred holy city, the cradle of Iraq's sectarian war. Shiite pilgrims flow alongside them toward the shattered al-Askari mosque, a symbol of a resuscitating Iraq. Shiite national security forces -- and not a single local Sunni policeman -- patrol the area. On the other side of the walls, shops lie shuttered; ! alleys are blanketed by silence. Padlocked red doors, built into the partition, prevent Shiite visitors from mixing with the city's mostly Sunni citizens. Here, Mohammed al-Saeed, a Sunni shopkeeper, fumes. "This wall is a sectarian wall," he said. "They don't trust us." The destruction of the venerated mosque in this central Iraqi city in 2006 has come to be seen as the spark for the terrible sectarian violence that gripped Iraq. Now, the Iraqi government holds up Samarra as evidence that peace is possible, even in the country's most contentious areas. But the quiet here is a brittle one, where Shiites exercise dominance and alienated Sunnis wallow in resentment. "These walls give an idea like death is waiting for us," declared Mohammed Hussen, a local Sunni council leader. "Their ambition is to make Samarra into a Shiite city." ...

VIDEO: Baghdad: City of Walls (Ghaith Abdul-Ahad, Guardian/ uruknet)

Barriers to be off Baghdad streets by 2009: army
16.04.09. AFP / anti-war. "We have received instructions from the prime minister (Nuri al-Maliki) that all concrete barriers should be removed from the streets of Baghdad by the end of 2009," Major General Qassim Atta, the Baghdad security spokesman, told AFP. [? PR?]

Report: US Air Strikes in Iraq Kill Mostly Women, Children
15.04.09. J. Ditz, antiwar. In a report to be published in tomorrow’s issue of the New England Journal of Medicine, researchers have concluded that air strikes by US-led coalition forces have killed mostly women and children. 39 percent were children, while 46 percent were women. [{NB: The report refers to the mostly discredited 'Iraq Body Count' numbers of dead only ]

IRAQ: More Than Two Million Refugees Waiting to Come Home
16.04.09. Marina Litvinsky, uruknet. ...The report, "Iraq: Preventing the Point of No Return," issued last week, notes that despite encouraging returns, the government of Iraq has not realistically assessed the country's ability to absorb large numbers of returns. RI found that Iraqis who have returned struggle to find shelter, electricity, water, jobs and access to health care. "There is immense pressure on displaced Iraqis to return home. The problem is that they return home to ethnically cleansed neighbourhoods and poor government services," said RI President Ken Bacon.

International Seeds Day on April 26 to advocate for Patent-FREE seeds, biodiversity farmers rights and to challenge Iraq’s Order 81
Institute of Near Eastern & African Studies (INEAS)/uruknet.
- Organizations, activists, farmers and organic food advocates around the world have endorsed and will observe April 26 as International Seeds Day (ISD). The purpose of the ISD is to educate the public and inform the media about Order 81 and how it had and will devastate the future of IRAQ's agriculture;

* how to resist the ability of giant agricultural corporations’ to control seed resources;

* the importance of biodiversity and how to practice seed saving; and

* the dangers of genetically modified food and patent seeds

Suicide Attack Kills at Least 15 in Iraq
16.04.09. NY Times. The officials, however, provided starkly conflicting reports of casualties. … The tally of wounded ranged from as few as 17 to more than 50. … punctuating a spike in bombings that has killed more than 70 people this month … few attackers have succeeded in penetrating so deeply into a restricted military base. “There is a security violation,” Lt. Hussam Rahim, an officer at the base, said in an interview at a hospital in Ramadi where many of the wounded were treated. “Someone helped him to enter the base.” … Journalists were prohibited from entering the base and the hospital, which Iraqi and American officers visited after the wounded arrived.

VIDEO: Death squad memories haunt Iraqi civilians – 17 Apr ‘09
al jazeera; Thirty-three per cent of deaths since the start of the US-led 2003 invasion are now being blamed on execution-style killings.

Attack in peaceful area raises new fears
18.04.09. AP. The attack in the Jisr Diyala district reinforced worries that security forces might need to shift attention back to areas that have been relatively quiet in recent months, even as they battle to control the last insurgent strongholds north of Baghdad in Diyala and Mosul. / The attack also raised concerns about Iraq's ability to maintain security in Baghdad and other key areas after the U.S. military withdraws from major cities by July.

Shells hit Baghdad's Green Zone after 3-month lull (18.04.09. anti-war)

The Ultimate Irony: No Oil for US "Interests" in Iraq?

Iraq parliament promises to push Shell out of gas deal
18.04.09. Guardian. Shell has been considered a frontrunner in the race to seize control of the Iraqi energy sector after signing a $4bn deal to process and market gas from the south of the country and ship it, possibly to Britain as liquefied natural gas (LNG). / But the preliminary agreement - and a subsequent one with China National Petroleum Corporation - were unconstitutional and detrimental to Iraq's economic interests, said Jabir, who worked for more than 15 years at Iraq's state-run Southern Gas Company. /"We are going to do everything we can to revoke this deal and to push Shell out," Jabir told Reuters.

West's access to Iraqi oil in doubt
19.04.09. smh. The warning from the secretary of the Iraqi parliament's oil and gas committee, Jabir Khalifa Jabir, was seen by financial analysts yesterday as a serious threat to Western investment opportunities in a country that holds the second-largest oil reserves in the world. / Shell has been considered a front runner in the race to seize control of the Iraqi energy sector after signing a $US4 billion ($5.5 billion) deal to process and market gas from the south and ship it, possibly to Britain, as liquefied natural gas.

Weekly show: Inside Iraq


UPDATES: More "extraordinary achievements" in Iraq


Storm of Violence in Iraq Strains Its Security Forces
24.04.09. NY Times. A deadly outburst of violence appears to be overwhelming Iraq’s police and military forces as American troops hand over greater control of cities across the country to them. On Friday, twin suicide bombings killed at least 60 people outside Baghdad’s most revered Shiite shrine, pushing the death toll in one 24-hour period to nearly 150. / Like many recent attacks, the bombings appeared intended to inflame sectarian tensions, to weaken Iraq’s security forces and to discredit its government.

Exceptions to Iraq Deadline Are Proposed
26.04.09. NY Times. The United States and Iraq will begin negotiating possible exceptions to the June 30 deadline for withdrawing American combat troops from Iraqi cities, focusing on the troubled northern city of Mosul, according to military officials. Some parts of Baghdad also will still have combat troops.

Hillary Clinton makes crisis visit to Iraq
27.04.09. Bill Van Auken, uruknet. ...Clearly, Washington’s aim is to keep Iraqi forces weak enough so that the country’s government remains dependent upon US support for its survival. By maintaining its military domination over the country, the US aims to secure effective control over Iraq’s vast oil reserves.

Iraqi PM brands US soldiers 'criminals'
27.04.09. in the news. Iraqi prime minister Nouri al-Maliki says a US raid south-east of Baghdad was a "crime" that violated a security pact between the two countries. / The US army disputed the details however, stating that only one person - a woman - died in the raid, which targeted Shia Muslim fighters reportedly funded by Iran. {because it was “a woman”, it doesn’t matter, then? ]

And So it Goes…
27.04.09. DAHR JAMAIL. Last week found Iraq swimming in blood once again. Attacks last Thursday brought the worst violence Iraq has seen in over a year, with at least 96 Iraqis killed and 157 wounded in two massive suicide bombings. Over 35 bombings have rocked Baghdad this month alone. There appears to be no end in sight for the escalating violence. For an Obama administration that plans to keep at least 50,000 US troops in Iraq indefinitely, look no further for a justification in doing so.

The Picture of Dorian Gray: Obama's Iraq
28.04.09. Jeremy Scahill, uruknet. Remember when Barack Obama made that big announcement at Camp Lejeune about how all US combat troops were going to be withdrawn from Iraqi cities by June 30? Liberals jumped around with joy, praising Obama for ending the war so that they could focus on their "good war" in Afghanistan. Of course, the celebrations were and remain unwarranted. Obama’s Iraq plan is virtually identical to the one on Bush’s table on January 19, 2009. Obama has just rebranded the occupation, sold it to liberals and dropped the term "Global War on Terror" while, for all practical purposes, continuing the Bush era policy (that’s why leading Republicans praised Obama’s plan). In the real world, US military commanders have said they are preparing for an Iraq presence for another 15-20 years, the US embassy is the size of Vatican City, there is no official plan for the withdrawal of contractors and new corporate mercenary contracts are being awarded...

April deadliest month in a year as security in Iraq plummets
29.04.09. Corinne Reilly and Hussein Kadhim | McClatchy / uruknet. April was the bloodiest month for violence in Baghdad in more than a year, another sign that Iraq's security gains are beginning to reverse... In Baghdad alone, more than 200 people have been killed in attacks so far this month, compared with 99 last month and 46 in February, according to a McClatchy count. The last time McClatchy recorded more than 200 civilian deaths in one month in the capital was in March 2008...

MAY 2005

Iraq bloodshed rises as US allies defect
03.05.09. Times Online. RAQ is threatened by a new wave of sectarian violence as members of the “Sons of Iraq” – the Sunni Awakening militias that were paid by the US to fight Al-Qaeda – begin to rejoin the insurgency. If the spike in violence continues, it could affect President Barack Obama’s pledge to withdraw all combat troops from Iraqi cities by the end of June. All US troops are due to leave the country by 2012.

Iraq: 'Basra is now worse than when the British troops arrived'
03.05.09. Hugh Sykes, Independent. Basra was once known as the Venice of the East as it has dozens of canals. But there is no romance in them now. They are clogged with sewage and rubbish - household waste, abandoned cars, broken bikes and plastic bottles and bags.

Iraq bloodshed rises as US allies defect
03.05.09. Times Online.’s withdrawal pledge is at risk as militias paid by the US begin to rejoin the insurgency
see also Dahr Jamail Combat Operations in Fallujah

Why suicide bombers are back in Iraq
07.05.09. Steve Niva, Asia Times. Suicide bombings are back in Iraq, signaling that the war is far from over. After a significant downturn, with only six suicide attacks between December 2008 and March 2009, there have been 25 suicide bombings in Iraq in the last two months, contributing to the worst spate of violence in Iraq in nearly a year.

The reality, however, is that the latest surge in violence isn't because the United States is leaving, but because the timeframe and terms of withdrawal are unclear. The real story behind the new wave of suicide bombings is that Iraqi insurgents are in conflict with the American backed Iraqi state and the US effort to perpetuate an order favorable to continued American influence and interests in Iraq even while American forces draw down, a policy long known in the region as neo-colonialism.

Bombings because the US is not leaving
Despite its high-minded claims about "ending the war", Obama's announced withdrawal plan clearly doesn't end the Iraq occupation, but rather continues it in a new form. The plan only calls for the withdrawal of "combat troops" by August 2010, while leaving behind 35,000-50,000 occupying troops until the end of 2011, many of whom will be combat troops simply relabeled as "advisory and assistance brigades".

General Sees a Longer Stay in Iraq Cities for U.S. Troops
08.05.09. NY Times. The top American general in Iraq said Friday that one-fifth of American combat troops would stay behind in Iraqi cities even after the June 30 deadline that the United States and Iraq had set for the departure. The estimate by Gen. Ray Odierno, at a Pentagon briefing, was the most specific yet for the extension of American combat operations in Baghdad and Mosul. The general declined several times to put an actual number on the combat troops who would remain in Baghdad and Mosul after June 30 because, he said, he did not know [sic] ] the precise number of troops there now.

Manufacturing Consent to Stay in Iraq

Concerns Mount on Preparedness of Iraq’s Forces (07.05.09. NY Times )

Iraq has a US puppet government and has no say in whether US troops go or stay

Iraq rules out extension of U.S. withdrawal dates (03.05.09. Wash Post)

OIL: Will US do the same?

Britain seeks role in protecting Iraqi oil supplies
30.04.09. Reuters. "We hope to sign an agreement with the Iraqi government about the future role that we can play in training and in protecting the oil supplies of Iraq and that will be an agreement between our two governments rather than any new United Nations resolution," Brown told a news conference.

Murder & Assassinations

“What Happened To Nuclear Physics professor Dr Ismail Khalil Jasim Al-Tikriti ?”
01.05.09. The BRussells Tribunal Committee, uruknet. The assassinations and threats against academics in Iraq continue unabated despite optimistic press reports on levels of violence falling dramatically and pompous declarations of the Iraqi puppet government about "reconciliation". On April 21, a female university professor has become the latest victim in a string of murders of intellectuals in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul. Last month, Ahmed Murad Shehab, a professor of Mosul University's Faculty of Administration and Economics, was fatally shot on the city's left bank. Some Iraqi academics who fled abroad from violence and oppression are reportedly trickling back home. This is not in response to pleas from the puppet government, but rather because in addition to the difficulties of life abroad — without working permits — their savings have been depleted. It is also because Western countries are refusing them refugee status and political asylum due to the so-called "improvement" of the security situation, while neighbouring countries cannot satisfy all their needs...

Laying the Groundwork for Violence
07.05.09. Dahr Jamail, uruknet. ... On May 5, the Iraqi military killed Basim Mohammed and detained his brother. Mohammed was a member of the Sahwa, the 100,000-strong Sunni militia composed mostly of former resistance fighters that the US created in order to use them to battle al-Qaeda in Iraq, as well as paying them off to draw down the number of attacks against occupation forces. The Sahwa, who were supposed to be given government jobs either in security or in civil services, have been betrayed. Instead of being given the promised jobs, they have been consistently targeted by the Iraqi military, and at times the US military...

How is this any different from Haditha, where all US soldiers were acquitted?

US ex-soldier guilty of Iraq rape
07.05.09. BBC. A jury in the US state of Kentucky has found a former private soldier guilty of the rape of a 14-year-old Iraqi girl and the killing of her and her family.

VIDEO: Iraq War - The rape and murder of Abeer Qassim Hamza

U.S. soldiers, attacked, kill a 12-year-old Iraqi boy (09.05.09. McClatchy)

Toxic War

Half Life of a Toxic War: Iraq's Wrecked Environment
01.05.09. Jeffrey St. Clair, Joshua Frank, uruknet. The ecological effects of war, like its horrific toll on human life, are exponential. When the Bush administration (parts one and two) and its congressional allies sent troops to Iraq to topple Saddam Hussein’s regime, they not only ordered these men and women to commit crimes against humanity, they also commanded them to perpetrate crimes against nature. Former Chief United Nations Weapons Inspector Hans Blix, prior to the 2003 invasion of Iraq, said the environmental consequences of the Iraq war could be more ominous than the issue of war and peace itself. Blix was right. Months of bombing during the first Gulf War by the United States and Great Britain left a deadly and insidious legacy: tons of shell casings, bullets and bomb fragments laced with depleted uranium. In all, the United States hit Iraqi targets with more than 970 radioactive bombs and missiles... More than 15 years later, the dire health consequences of our first radioactive bombing campaign in this region are coming into focus. Since 1990, the incidence rate of leukemia in Iraq has increased over 600 percent. Detection and treatment of cancers was made unnecessarily difficult by Iraq’s forced isolation under a regime of sanctions, producing what was described by former U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan as "a humanitarian crisis."...

TORTURE: as in the US, so in Iraq: If Obama does not prosecute torture facilitators in US, then Iraqis also have an excuse to torture?

Iraq's Underworld
01.05.09. Layla Anwar, An Arab Woman Blues / uruknet. ... Fate decided that I was to watch the program aired by Al-Sharqiya called Al-Aglabiya Al-Samita -- The Silent Majority. And here I was stuck with the silent majority. The program was solely devoted to the gross human rights violations and abuses in "liberated" Iraq with particular reference to the plight of prisoners/detainees in Iraq's Gulag. Many called in. Some were ex-prisoners, other relatives of someone who is still in prison or reported dead while in prison. The stories were harrowing. I felt as if I was watching a horror film. Truly, I still have not fully recovered from what I heard that evening. People were calling in from ALL of Iraq - Baghdad, Basra, Diwaniya, Suleymania, Erbil...Some were exiled and calling from outside of Iraq and they had escaped a similar ordeal, a similar ordeal as that of the still lingering prisoners. Some were very close relatives of someone still imprisoned in some Iraqi dungeon [...] All the prisoners have not been formally charged with any "crime" and none has had access to any legal council or trial. An example : someone drew an anti-occupation graffiti on the wall of one neighborhood, all of the men in the age range of 15 to 45 of that same neighborhood were arrested the following day and imprisoned. - All of the stories report widespread use of horrific torture methods. Common torture methods across the country are : electrocution, being hanged by hooks from the ceilings, sleep deprivation, food deprivation, isolation, made to listen to torture from other cells, beatings, crammed space - one example 150 inmates in one cell of 3 by 8 meters, amputating fingers, amputation of limbs following torture, pulling nails and teeth, burning with cigarettes and acid, blinding one eye, drilling extremities...and rape including gang rape of male prisoners was commonly reported. One example given was in the space of one day 45 policemen raped around 100 detainees. Rape includes the forcing of bottles in the anus. This was a common theme that came up in every single story...

VIDEO: Inside Iraq: Silent Torture PART 1, 1 May 2009; PART 2, 1 May 2009.

02.05.09. William Fisher, uruknet. Iraqi prisons are torturing detainees, locking people up for months without charges and, in most cases, allowing the perpetrators of these human rights to escape justice, according to a new United Nations report. "Security may not be sustainable unless significant steps are taken in the area of human rights such as strengthening the rule of law and addressing impunity," the report warned... The UN report found that: The 26,249 people being held in Iraq prisons in December faced "months or even years in overcrowded cells" and many had not been formally charged. The use of torture as an interrogation method and the ill-treatment of detainees remains "a serious challenge to Iraq’s criminal justice system." There is no known case in which any official in the powerful Ministry of Defense, which has its own jails, "has been held accountable for human rights abuses."...

The Big Lie About Torture
02.05.09. Bernard Chazelle, uruknet. The story goes like this: The US didn't torture until the Bush gang came to power. Some say we're a nation of laws and criminal investigations are the only way to return to our virginal past; others share the same objective but reject prosecutions as needlessly divisive; a third group advocates torture as the new post 9/11 norm (...) It's been amply documented that the US has condoned, taught, and practiced torture since WWII. The military created a whole university to teach such things as electrocution, confining detainees in coffin-like boxes, kidnapping their parents, etc. The Phoenix program institutionalized torture in Vietnam....

Torture and Impunity in Iraqi Prisons
05.05.09. Jeremy Scahill, uruknet. Part of the deadly serious problem with the Obama administration’s position on (not) holding accountable CIA torturers, their lawyers, and the Bush administration officials who authorized and ordered all of these crimes is this: It sends a message to other governments that if Washington does it, we can too. Especially governments completely created by the U.S. government. No governments on the planet are more controlled by the U.S. right now than the ones in Iraq and Afghanistan...

Senators Urge Obama to Block Release of New Detainee Abuse Photos
10.05.09. W. Fisher, pub record/ICH. Civil libertarians are condemning a call by two influential U.S. senators for the White House to block the impending release of photographs showing detainees being abused by U.S. military personnel at the notorious Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq and at other American detention facilities in the Middle East and elsewhere. The plea to intervene to stop the expected May 28 release of the photos came in a letter Thursday to President Barack Obama from Senators Joseph Lieberman and Lindsey Graham.


Iraq: Stop Executing Prisoners
06.05.09. Human Rights Watch/URUKNET. Iraq should institute an immediate moratorium on the death penalty in the aftermath of a large number of executions on May 3, 2009, Human Rights Watch said today. According to United Nations officials in Baghdad, the Iraqi government hanged 12 people in Baghdad on May 3 who had been convicted of criminal offenses. The UN officials said they believed that another 115 prisoners could face execution in the near future... Human Rights Watch said it was particularly! concerned that Iraq continues to admit into judicial proceedings confessions obtained under duress. The organization called on the Iraqi government to disclose all information regarding the identities and status of prisoners on death row, the crimes for which they have been convicted, the manner in which they were charged, tried, and sentenced, the prisons in which they are detained, and details of any impending executions...

US Military

Dahr Jamail's new book, /Military Resisters: Soldiers Who Refuse to Fight in Iraq and Afghanistan/, is now available for pre-order here.

As one of the first and few unembedded Western journalists to report the truth about how the United States has destroyed, not liberated, Iraqi society in his book Beyond the Green Zone, Jamail now investigates the under-reported but growing antiwar resistance of American GIs. Gathering the stories of these courageous men and women, Jamail shows us that far from “supporting our troops,” politicians have betrayed them at every turn. Finally, Jamail shows us that the true heroes of the criminal tragedy of the Iraq War are those brave enough to say no.

U.S.-IRAQ: Massacre Puts War Trauma Under the Spotlight
11.05.09. Aaron Glantz, uruknet. A U.S. soldier shot five of his colleagues dead at a base in Baghdad, Iraq Monday. The Pentagon says at least two other people were hurt in the shootings and the gunman is in custody. Details are still coming in, but the incident reportedly happened at a stress clinic where troops get help for personal issues or combat trauma. At an afternoon press conference, Secretary of Defence Robert Gates was tight-lipped about the details of the shooting, the first such spree by a U.S. soldier through six years of war in Iraq.


Right to the very end in Iraq, our masters denied us the truth
04.05.09. Independent / ICH. Robert Fisk. The sentence 'millions of Iraqis now live free of oppression' is pure public relations.
= = =
Violence kills 335 Iraqis and maims more than 1,300 in April
02.05.09. azzaman. The group said altogether more than 1,700 Iraqis were either killed or maimed in April which it described as the bloodiest since September 2008 in which 444 Iraqis were killed.

Army chief says US ready to be in Iraq 10 years
26.05.09. AP. The Pentagon is prepared to leave fighting forces in Iraq for as long as a decade despite an agreement between the United States and Iraq that would bring all American troops home by 2012, the top U.S. Army officer said Tuesday. / Gen. George Casey, the Army chief of staff, said the world remains dangerous and unpredictable, and the Pentagon must plan for extended U.S. combat and stability operations in two [sic] wars.
See also:
Pentagon: US Ready to Keep Troops in Iraq For Another 10 Years
(26.05.09. Jason Ditz, anti-war. While US officials have continued to insist that the timetable for removing troops from Iraq remains in place, a growing trend of violence and a delay to Iraq’s national parliamentary elections has led to considerable speculation that the US won’t ultimately abide by the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) deadline to have troops out of the nation by the end of 2011. / That speculation seemed well-founded today, when Army Chief of Staff General George Casey said that the world “remains dangerous and unpredictable” and that his planning envisions leaving combat troops in Iraq for another decade “to fight extremism and terrorism.”

researching War in Pakistan May 2009, where also there is "No Change"

Obama Lying by Omission

Obama In Cairo: A New Face For Imperialism
05.06.09. Patrick Martin, WSWS / Countercurrents. The Speech
delivered by US President Barack Obama in Cairo yesterday was riddled with contradictions. He declared his opposition to the “killing of innocent men, women, and children,” but defended the ongoing US wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and the US proxy war in Pakistan , while remaining silent on the most recent Israeli slaughter of Palestinians in Gaza. These wars have killed at least one million Iraqis and tens of thousands in Afghanistan, Pakistan and the Palestinian territories

US opposes Iraqi popular vote on troop withdrawal
13.06.09. Tom Eley, ueoknet. An Iraqi national referendum on last year’s security pact with the US is currently scheduled to take place on July 30. According to Iraqi law, if voters reject the pact, which calls for the US to remove all troops by December 31, 2011, Washington would have to remove its military 17 months sooner—by July 30 of 2010. Should the vote be held as scheduled, it is a virtual certainty that the Iraqi masses will repudiate the pact. Washington, of course, has no intention of obeying any popular referendum. Yet it wishes to avoid the political embarrassment of a broad repudiation of its occupation of the oil-rich country...

I seem to remember the US saying it would leave Iraq if asked to do so.

Shame: The 'Anti-War' Democrats Who Sold Out
17.06.09. Jeremy Scahill, AlterNet. In a historic vote, only 30 of 256 Democrats stood against $100 billion for more war.

US reneges on Iraq withdrawal promises
26.06.09. On Wednesday, a spokesman for the US military in Iraq, Brigadier General Steve Lanza, said a number of the country's troops are to remain in the urban areas after the June 30 deadline, Reuters reported.

Iraq: Troop Movements Are not a 'Withdrawal'
30.06.09. Dennis Kucinich, ICH. "This is not a great victory for peace. On May 19, the Christian Science Monitor reported that Iraqi and U.S. military officials virtually redrew the city limits of Baghdad in order to consider the Army's Forward Operating Base Falcon as outside the city, despite every map of Baghdad clearly showing it with in city limits.

Oil and the Iraq “withdrawal”
30.06.09. WSWS. It is fitting that today’s deadline for the withdrawal of US troops from Iraq’s cities coincides with a meeting in Baghdad to auction off some of the country’s largest oil fields to companies such as ExxonMobil, Chevron and British Petroleum. It is a reminder of the real motives for the 2003 invasion and in whose interests over one million Iraqis and 4,634 American and other Western troops have been killed. The Iraq war was, and continues to be, an imperialist war waged by the American ruling elite for control of oil and geo-strategic advantage.

JULY 2009

Neocons Agree: Report Projects Continued U.S. Military Presence in Iraq
01.07.09. Axcess News. When former Republican presidential candidate John McCain said in January 2008 that he would be OK with United States troops in Iraq for another 100 years, Democrats ridiculed him as a warmonger. Now, a report from a "centrist" political think tank predicts that U.S. troops will remain in Iraq well after the current December 2011 withdrawal deadline.

US Occupation of Iraq Continues Unabated
06.07.09. Dahr Jamail, Truthout. We have passed the June 30 deadline that, according to a Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) signed between US Ambassador Ryan Crocker and Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari on November 17, 2008, was the date all US forces were to have been withdrawn from all of Iraq's cities. Today, however, there are at least 134,000 US soldiers in Iraq - a number barely lower than the number that were there in 2003. In addition, US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates testified on June 9 that the United States would maintain an average of at least 100,000 troops in Iraq through fiscal year 2010.

Forget The Headlines: Iraqi Freedom Deferred
09.07.09. Ramzy Baroud, countercurrents. Before we take our eyes off Iraq, Americans must remember their own culpabilities in what transpired there. Antiwar activists and people of conscience must not forget that 130,000 US soldiers remain in the country; that the US has complete control over Iraqi airspace and territorial water; that there is not yet a reason to celebrate and move on

Pentagon Prepares to Maintain Iraq Troop Levels Through Early 2010
14.07.09. Jason Ditz, anti-war / uruknet. In a press release today, the Pentagon has announced troops rotations for the Iraq War starting in the fall and continuing through early 2010. The rotations consist of three division headquarters units and eight combat brigades, roughly 30,000 troops. The announcement points out that, despite repeated administration promises of an eventual pullout, the Pentagon is operating under the assumption that they will maintain the current level of troops through at least the beginning of next year...

Iraq PM admits US troops may stay
23.07.09. al jazeera. The Iraqi prime minister has admitted US troops could stay in the country beyond 2011. Under the US-Iraq Status of Forces agreement, which sets out a timetable for the withdrawal of US forces from Iraq, American troops must exit the country by December 31, 2011. Al-Maliki's apparent willingness for US forces to stay in Iraq beyond the 2011 deadline comes a day after he met Barack Obama, the US president, at the White House.

4. References

On the sidebar of Index Research there are 24 articles on Iraq.

Also see:

PNAC: Rebuilding America's Defenses - A Biopsy on Imperialism; Part II: "Special Interests" - The Persian Gulf (20.03.06)

Security Company Death Squads Timeline (25.09.07)

Who Is The President Elect - Obama or AIPAC?
(10.11.09, updated)

Israel: Obama's Foreign Policy - No Change (21.01.09, updated)

Obama: Our “Seamless” President Elect (26.11.09)

Iran: No Change in Obama's Diplomacy? (24.01.09, updated)

Obama's Rhetoric Vs. Damning Evidence on Guantanamo, Rendition, Torture (01.03.09)


Sarah Meyer is an independent researcher living in the UK. She is on the advisory committee of the BRussels Tribunal .

The url to ‘Obama’s Iraq: No Change’ is:

The smaller url is:


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