Thursday, December 22, 2011
Iraq: All U.S. troops have left. Or have they?
Some will remain in fact up to 2,700 if Iraqi Prime Minister Maliki is to be believed. Seven hundred troops will remain in Iraq as trainers. Earlier reports said that the U.S. would not agree with Maliki's terms for troops to remain as trainers. Maliki insisted that the troops be subject to Iraqi law. It is highly unlikely that the U.S. agreed to that. Maliki made no mention of that issue in his statement.
As well as the trainers there will be up to 2,000 troops used to provide security for the U.S. embassy. The embassy will also have 1500 diplomats with diplomatic immunity as well as 15,000 other employees at the Embassy.
No doubt many of these other employees will be private security contractors to provide security for diplomatic staff as well. The cost of the U.S. continuing presence in Iraq will still be large and a burden on the U.S. taxpayer. For more see this article.
Maliki is in great difficulty politically in Iraq. Already his coalition government is falling into pieces. The opposition will no doubt protest if it turns out that U.S. troops stay in Iraq with continued immunity from the application of Iraqi law.