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Obama's Withdrawal From Iraq Destabilizing Fragile Maliki Government

November 8, 2011

November 7, 2011 - San Francisco CA - - As related in a recent NY Times piece [see, Andrew Kramer, Iraq Arrests More in Wake of Tip About Coup,] Iraqi prime minister Nuri al-Maliki appears to be engaged a massive campaign to suppress the country's Sunni minority, using as justification a "tip" from Libya's new Islamist leadership that a coup was being planned against his government.

Hundreds of Sunnis have been arrested and many already employed by the regime have been summarily fired or forced into involuntary retirement.

"When the government revealed last week that it had received the information in October, gleaned from the ruined headquarters of Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi's intelligence headquarters in Tripoli, the authorities detained more than 200 people. By Saturday, the number of arrests...had more than tripled to 615, according to government figures... Last month, the government fired 145 employees of Salahudin University in Tikrit, north of Baghdad, for being former Baathists..."

Moving quickly to secure his power base before the last American forces depart the country, Mr. Maliki is engaged in a feverish hedging strategy that may well result in a resumption of the religious mayhem which the American surge had largely suppressed.

These moves have sent a seismic wave through Iraq's already brittle security force, threatening to fracture it along sectarian lines at a time when unity is most urgently required. As the Wall Street Journal notes, "With the U.S. departure imminent, any new fissures in the security services will make it harder for Iraq's army and police to keep the peace and defend the country's borders." [source,]

While Mr. Obama will likely try to twist the photo-op provided by the last U.S. soldier leaving Iraq as signifying a foreign policy success, the truth is that this president was handed a relatively stable Iraq by the outgoing Bush administration and in less than three years appears to be on the verge of totally deconstructing a victory secured at the cost of nearly 4,500 American deaths.

Mr. Obama's arrogant refusal to accept the guidance of his generals and on the ground field commanders and his bumbling attempts at diplomacy [especially those of his former ambassador to Iraq, Christopher Hill] could well result in foreign policy disasters unfolding in both Iraq and Afghanistan during the 2012 election, exactly the opposite effect he had intended.

Rather than being able to slink away in the dead of night as did the Dem majority in Congress when they pulled the plug on the South Vietnamese government by cutting off assistance funding in 1974, the carnage that may ensue upon our withdrawal from Iraq and Afghanistan will bloodily splash across the new media with such force as to make culpability inescapable for Team Obama.

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