Friday, February 03, 2012

"Losing" Iraq

Some of Obama's political opponents are peddling the idea that his administration "lost" Iraq.  An article in Salon by Matt Duss refutes this charge:

 Brett McGurk, who served as a senior advisor to three U.S. ambassadors in Baghdad, helped negotiate the 2008 withdrawal agreement with the Iraqi government. He also attempted to negotiate a new agreement in 2011 that would’ve allowed a residual U.S. force to stay.
It wasn’t possible, as he explained in a Washington Post Op-Ed. “The decision to complete our withdrawal was not the result of a failed negotiation,” McGurk wrote, “but rather the byproduct of an independent Iraq that has an open political system and a 325-member parliament.”
Trying to force an agreement through that parliament would have been “self-destructive,” he wrote. “That had nothing to do with Iran and everything to do with Iraqi pride, history and nationalism. Even the most staunchly anti-Iranian Iraqi officials refused to publicly back a residual U.S. force — and in the end, they supported our withdrawal.”
As for the claims that Iran would benefit from the U.S. withdrawal, the fact of the matter is that Iraq became “exposed” to Iranian influence the moment the Bush administration removed Saddam Hussein.  For years Saddam had served as the biggest check on Iranian power in the region. It was the Bush administration, supported by the likes of Krauthammer and Ajami, that created an Iraqi government largely run by Iran’s partners and clients. Paradoxically, removing the U.S. presence from Iraq could actually serve to diminish Iranian influence there, by removing one of the drivers of resentment that Iran has exploited in recent years to its advantage.
Actually this whole theory of a "lost Iraq" makes me wonder when it was "unlost."

Image:   The Iraqi parliament, whose deliberations you can read about here. 

1 comment:

  1. Remarkable how it can be spun hmmmm?