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Iraqi Violence Soars As US Withdraws

From the Wall Street Journal:

Toll Rises as Iraq Slows Surge

MAY 9, 2009

By CHARLES LEVINSON

BAGHDAD — Violence is on the rise in Iraq as American troops withdraw. A ground-level look at the handover provides one explanation: The Iraqi government is neglecting many of the successful counterinsurgency initiatives it is inheriting from the U.S. military.

In the Adhamiya neighborhood of Baghdad, once an al Qaeda stronghold, contractor Hossam Hadi used to send 1,000 military-aged men out on U.S.-funded jobs to pick up trash and repair bullet-riddled store fronts. That work pacified potential troublemakers, but now he’s down to 60 workers.

In Baghdad’s Shaab district, residents say that when the constant patrols of U.S. troops gave way recently to Iraqis who manned static posts, kidnappings and robberies rose. And just south of the capital, a former Sunni insurgent hired by the U.S. to keep the peace says his 145 militiamen are angry because they’ve received only a month’s pay since Baghdad took over their program in January.

Many Iraqis fear a security gap just as the U.S. military hands the reins to the Iraqi government. American soldiers are already fading from Iraq’s streets ahead of this summer’s deadline for the withdrawal of forces from Iraqi cities. The Iraqi government, meanwhile, has been slammed by dwindling oil receipts — leaving it tens of billions of dollars short in its budget for security and other bills.

All that has coincided uncomfortably with a wave of attacks since late March. Iraqis worry that insurgents and sectarian militias may be regrouping and appraising an Iraqi force that lacks the money and will to replicate tactics the U.S. used to quell violence

With Iraq’s oil selling for about $40 a barrel, Iraqi finance officials have slashed this year’s budget from $80 billion to less than $60 billion. They project a $30 billion deficit. U.S. aid, which still pays for a sizeable chunk of Iraq’s security forces, is also decreasing.

Iraq is negotiating for a standby loan from the International Monetary Fund. If Baghdad can’t get an international lifeline, Finance Minister Baker al-Zubaidy says, "we have a true crisis in the beginning of 2010."

In 2007, Uday Karim says he grew disillusioned with Al Qaeda’s violent tactics and led his 145 insurgents to join forces with the Americans. His so-called Awakening fighters began safeguarding the villages around Iskandriya, and the area grew calm.

The U.S. military has passed off the responsibility for Awakening forces, which have numbered more than 100,000 fighters across Iraq, but Baghdad hasn’t paid them in full. Since the government took over Mr. Karim’s group in January, it has provided just one month’s pay…

On a recent visit to Iskandriya, his once-ubiquitous Awakening forces have largely vanished. A handful of fighters milled about in dun-colored camouflage. As for the rest, Mr. Karim shrugs.

"Who knows what they’re doing with their time," he says. "If some individuals decide to fight the government again, no one is going to interfere."

We will hear more and more similar stories as the US begins to remove its forces from Iraq.

Or, on second thought, maybe we won’t.

Iraq will probably be lost very quietly – as our watchdog media keeps us entertained with other shiny objects.

This article was posted by Steve on Saturday, May 9th, 2009. Comments are currently closed.

8 Responses to “Iraqi Violence Soars As US Withdraws”

  1. proreason says:

    Anybody with family or friends in Iraq needs to help them escape now……before the TMCC enables the slaughter of millions there.

  2. Confucius says:

    Another Obama foreign-policy failure.

    (And a vindication for the Republicans who argued for staying.)

  3. 12 Gauge Rage says:

    So where are all the critics that said we weren’t making any progress in Iraq? And that it had become another Vietnam? Obviously our brave men and women there were making a difference because no sooner do they leave a secured area back into the hands of the nationals than the whole place goes to Hell in a hand basket. For what it’s worth, I’ll be so glad when all these nay saying defeatist hippies finally die off and take all their negativism/hate America to the grave with them. Too bad however, that they’ve already prosyletized and poisoned the young minds of the next generation.

    • Liberals Demise says:

      I thought that the old hippies would have contracted a STD and their brains would be mush by now from the free love and drugs.

      Woooo……..hey!!

    • proreason says:

      “I thought that the old hippies would have contracted a STD and their brains would be mush by now from the free love and drugs.”

      All true, LD, but they still get to vote.

      So now we have a country that has contracted a STD and it’s brain is mush

  4. canary says:

    U.S. did not hire these impoverished un-uniformed Iraqies. Iraq did, and many of our soldiers weren’t even told, and it’s taken a toll on U.S. soldiers as it’s hard to tell if they are good or bad. No way to identify them. Obama is sticking to have them out by June. Bush refused to give a date, so Obama promised America a date. No way they can go out at same time, though it would be great, as U.S. soldiers lower in number, their lives are more jeopardized, when stupid Obama and Iraq keep giving the deadline out.

    Strange, we have not gotten any free oil or fuel for our military while over there these years.
    Saddam isn’t there to hog the oil. Where’d it go.

  5. BillK says:

    This will be ignored… until things fall apart completely.

    Then it will be the focus of the MSM as they run stories about how “Bush’s legacy” failed and that thousands of Americans gave their lives for nothing – in fact making life worse for everyday Iraqis and (wait for it…) fueling an increase in new al Qaeda recruits who blame the US for the conditions in their country when everything was Milk and Honey during Saddam’s reign.

    Rape rooms? Innumerable violations of UN regulations? Terrorist training camps? Who cares?

    No, the story will simply be Bush screwed up Iraq and it will be the U.S. that’s responsible – so we must pay them reparations and restore the Shi’ites to their rightful place of power.

    What happened between the invasion and Obama’s premature withdrawal of troops will be forever buried and scrubbed from news sites worldwide.

  6. Anonymoose says:

    Here’s the way the media will play it, and actually is doing it now:

    LOOK! Obama is taking Michelle out to dinner in a completely non-contrived photo op!

    ……violence in Iraq increases as troops withdraw…….

    LOOK! It’s Michelle’s new guide to getting toned arms by growing arugula in your own garden!

    …..sectarian fighting grows as the Iraqi government is unable to contain it……

    LOOK! Obama is now in his own comic book and has an action figure line coming out!

    …..Iraq has descended into anarchy and chaos…..

    IT’S ALL BUSH’S FAULT!

    Funny thing is he really is appearing in a comic book…..tail wagging the dog…


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