Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Is the Obama Administration Losing Iraq?

It is feared that the Obama administration's Middle East policies will lead to the US in essence losing the war in Iraq. Difficult to believe at this point, but that appears to be the situation that is now developing. A referendum, SOFA (Status of Forces Agreement) postponed until January 2010 would require US forces to leave Iraq within 12 months. With the Iraqi people largely resenting and disapproving of US "occupation", it is expected that SOFA will fail; wreaking Obama's planned slow departure. Adding to insecurities in Iraq are Obama' comments; calling the Iraq war, one that "should never have been authorized and never been waged," and his calling the war in Afghanistan as being "fundamental to the defense of our people." Not exactly words that would give a leader of this troubled nation any sense of security. Because of this, Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has been placed in an untenable position of looking for an new ally.
Maliki has a tenuous hold on his government and has sought to strengthen ties with Iran. He has received a warm welcome there during a recent visit. Also, recall he had spent extended periods of time in Iran in exile during Saddam's rule. In addition, Iraq is attempting to control the Shiite- Sunni sectarian violence. Shiite militias are thought to be blamed for this situation; militias that are linked to certain parties in Iraq's government as well as with Iran itself. Not a good scenario. What with the Obama administration's apparent lack of serious interest in ensuring success in Iraq as well as Maliki attempting to hold onto power with whatever alliances that are available, the future of Iraq now hangs in the balance.
The Obama administration needs to remember that the US has a responsibility to the Iraqi people not to stand by while Maliki destroys any possibility of democracy in Iraq. He also owes it to our troops that fought and died for this cause.
It all seems reminiscent of Pakistan acquiring nuclear weapons during the Clinton administration. Let's hope that this administration won't be known throughout history as the one which did nothing to prevent Iran becoming a nuclear power and the one which did nothing to prevent an alliance to be made between Iran and Iraq.