Bin Laden raid leader: Keep commandos in Iraq
The admiral tapped to be the new commander of U.S. special operations forces says a small commando force should remain in Iraq after the end of the year, when all American troops are scheduled to leave.Of course, it is not Vice Adm. William McRaven's decision whether or not Iraq will continue to host US troops after the year is over, but the US is certainly applying as much pressure as it can to do so.
We'll see later in the year if this behind-the-scenes pressure yields any results.
What we know now is that the process by which the US seeks to influence Iraqi politics is hidden and inherently corrupt.
An illustration is after Iraq's first election, US President George Bush decided, and let it be publicly known that the presumptive winner of the Prime Minister position, Jaafari, was unacceptable to the United States. Condoleeza Rice flew into Baghdad and by the time she left the job was given to Maliki.
Rice represents no votes in Iraq's parliament. What she could offer is to coordinate the disbursement of truckloads of cash and personal favors and personal threats against individual Iraqi politicians. Whatever she did behind closed doors then is certainly being replicated now to induce Iraq to maintain a force of US troops beyond the agreed deadline.
Maliki was not an complete victory for the United States in 2006. There is no solid reason to believe there will be a victory for the United States on the troop issue. But US attempts to influence outcomes in Iraq are a threat to Iraq's independence. The sooner those attempts are ended the better it will be for the people of Iraq.