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HOME  > Past issues  > 2008 April 30 - May 13  > Take U.S. forces out of Iraq to achieve peace
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2008 April 30 - May 13 [WORLD]

Take U.S. forces out of Iraq to achieve peace

April 29, 2008
Akahata editorial

The U.S. Bush administration is taking steps toward perpetuating the stationing of U.S. forces in Iraq ostensibly to forge cooperation with Iraq at Iraq’s “request”. The permanent U.S. military presence will only lead to an indefinite U.S. occupation of the country instead of helping Iraq achieve independence and peace. This will enable U.S. forces to turn Iraq into a main stepping-stone for military action in the Middle East and surrounding areas, and put the world in a more dangerous circumstance.

Towards a ‘permanent relationship’

Five years after the U.S. invasion of Iraq in violation of the U.N. Charter, the country is still in a state of war. No prospect is in sight for Iraq’s reconstruction or for the restoration of its security.

The United States in December had the U.N. Security Council extend the mandate of the U.S.-led multinational forces (MNF) in Iraq until the end of 2008. The authorization was on the premise that this was going to be the last extension of the mandate, with the United States promising that Iraq would “completely restore” its sovereignty after the period of the foreign military presence expires on December 31, 2008 and that U.S.-Iraqi relationship would be “normalized.” To this end, the United States plans to conclude a comprehensive agreement on security, politics, economy, and cultures with Iraq by the end of July.

This U.S. plan was contained in the “Declaration of Principles for a Long-Term Relationship of Cooperation and Friendship” signed in November 2007 between the U.S. Bush administration and the Iraqi Maliki administration. Regarding the declaration calling for a “defense against domestic and foreign threats” against Iraq, the U.S. government explained, “The Iraqi leadership desires to develop a long-term relationship with the United States, and the United States is committed to developing this relationship with a democratic Iraq.”

In June 2007, U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates stated, "The idea is more a model of a mutually agreed arrangement whereby we have a long and enduring presence." In fact, U.S. forces are constructing major military facilities in Iraq with the aim of perpetuating their presence.

The plan does not assume that Iraq has the right to limit the activities of U.S. forces in Iraq. The British daily Guardian on April 8 said, “The draft strategic framework agreement between the US and Iraqi governments” authorizes the U.S. to “conduct military operations in Iraq and to detain individuals when necessary for imperative reasons of security without any time limit.”

In mid April U.S. President George W. Bush made it clear that the United States “will keep about 140,000 troops in Iraq.” This is how the U.S. plans to continue its military operations in Iraq. It is also important to note that this announcement came at a time when the United States was increasingly intimidating Iran.

Chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff Mike Mullen on April 25 hinted at taking "potential military courses of action" against Iran “if Tehran does not stop aiding insurgents in Iraq and fails to stop building nuclear weapons.”

Perpetuation of the stationing of the U.S. forces in Iraq goes against the will of not only the Iraqi people but also all the neighboring Arab nations. Several opinion polls conducted last year in Iraq show that Iraqis are very critical of U.S. forces with more than 70 percent opposing the stationing of foreign forces in their country.

Iraq’s neighboring countries also want U.S. forces to be withdrawn

An opinion poll conducted in March in Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and other Arab countries showed that 61 percent of the respondents said they want U.S. forces to be withdrawn from Iraq. Apparently reflecting this, governments of Iraq’s neighboring countries are reluctant to establish relations with the Iraqi government led by Prime Minister Maliki. The Third Expanded Ministerial Conference of the Neighboring Countries of Iraq, held in Kuwait in April, failed to make a breakthrough despite Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice’s efforts.

A U.S. National Defense University report issued in April stated that the Iraq war was a terrible mistake, referring to war victims among Iraqi civilians as well as U.S. forces as well as 2,000,000 Iraqi refugees who have fled the country. An immediate withdrawal of U.S. forces from Iraq will pave the way for achieving peace in Iraq. - Akahata, April 29, 2008
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