Baby, Come Back
The Associated Press is reporting that, unable to manage their own internal security problems and with the casualty count rising, Iraqi officials are wondering if, possibly, the Americans would return and lend a hand:
Faced with security crises across the Mideast, North Africa and Asia, the White House largely has turned its attention away from Iraq since U.S. forces left in 2011. But the country has been hit with deadly bombings at a rate reminiscent of Iraq’s darkest days, stoking new fears of a civil war. More than 1,000 Iraqis were killed in terror-related attacks in July, the deadliest month since 2008.
The violence has spurred Baghdad to seek new U.S. aid to curb the threat, said Iraqi Foreign Minister Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari. He said a U.S. assistance package could include a limited number of advisers, intelligence analysis and surveillance assets – including lethal drones.
“There is greater realization in the Iraq government that we should not shy away from coming and asking for some help and assistance,” Zebari told reporters Friday in Washington.
He described U.S. interest in Iraq after the 2011 troop withdrawal as “indifferent, completely” but said that seemed to shift as the White House realized al-Qaida’s resurrection there.
“Recently I noticed, and during this visit specifically, there is a renewed interest because of the seriousness of the situation and the challenges,” Zebari said. “I think that is because of the threat of terrorism, the threat of the renewal of al-Qaida and its affiliates has become a serious, serious concern to the U.S.”
Complete American withdrawal from Iraq was negotiated back in 2008 when Iraqis were unwilling to agree to a status of forces agreement with the United States that would shield American soldiers from prosecution under Iraqi law. Is a favorable SOFA more likely now than it was five years ago?
IMO barring a catastrophic collapse in Iraq and, possibly, even in the face of one, returning American forces to Iraq politically would be very difficult if not impossible. We’ve moved on from Iraq and faced an additional five years of mounting casualties in Afghanistan. How interested are we in being a whipping boy for the Iraqis?