Monday, January 6, 2020

UPDATED: Breaking: US Preparing To Pull Out Of Iraq?

UPDATE: Good thing I put a question mark in there. The answer for now seems to be: Maybe not. As reported at TGP via Sky news (or vice versa) SecDef Esper says it was just a draft that shouldn't have been released. Hmmm. I was starting to really like the idea. Now that the letter's been released, maybe we should just go ahead?

Zerohedge has a longish account: US Army Tells Iraq It Is Preparing To "Move Out" Out Of "Respect For Sovereignty". The obvious question, based on the letter from Brigadier General Seekly to the Iraqi DoD, is: Is this a complete withdrawal or partial? Here's the letter:

sLTG Abdul Amir 
Deputy Director, Combined Joint Operations Baghdad Iraq - Ministry of Defense 
Your Excellency, 
Sir, in due deference to the sovereignty of the Republic of Iraq, and as requested by the Iraqi Parliament and the Prime Minister, CJTF-OIR will be repositioning forces over the course of the coming days and weeks to prepare for onward movement. 
In order to conduct this task, Coalition Forces are required to take certain measures to ensure that the movement out of Iraq is conducted in a safe and efficient manner. 
During this time, there will be an increase in helicopter travel in and around the International Zone (IZ) of Baghdad. This increased traffic will include CH47, VH-00, and AH-64 security escort helicopters. 
Coalition Forces will take appropriate measures to minimize and mitigate the disturbance to the public. In addition, we will conduct these operations during hours of darkness to help alleviate any perception that we may be bringing more Coalition Forces into the IZ. 
As we begin implementing this next phase of operations, I wish to reiterate the value of our friendship and partnership. We respect your sovereign decision to order our departure. 
Very Respectfully, 
Brigadier General, U.S. Marine Corps
Commanding General, TF-Iraq

It sure sounds to me like a complete withdrawal. We'll see how it develops.

Meanwhile, as Zerohedge puts it:

The decision to withdraw begs the question: Was Trump playing 5-D chess after all?

It also appears to answer Pat Lang's question that I quoted this morning:

Will Trump welcome the ejection of the US from Iraq? - He should.

Refreshing, and maybe another lesson in never misunderestimating Trump.


  1. To me, this is great news. Who knows? We might even save a trillion or two.

    I'm loathe to relitigate the past, but our invasion of Iraq was the biggest foreign policy mistake in our lifetimes (going into Viet Nam, otoh, was arguably legitimate). Going into Iraq accomplished nothing, absolutely nothing.

    In fact, can anyone name one good thing that came about as a result of the 3 trillion dollar war?

    America would be better off if Saddam was still in power. No, he wasn't a good guy. But he's better than what we have now, which is an Iranian stooge state.

    So, the hell with Iraq. What purpose does our presence serve? Trump was hired to get us the heck out of these hell holes. So, I'm good with leaving.

    Next stop, Afghanistan. Once we're gone, they can eat each other in peace.

    1. "America would be better off if Saddam was still in power."

      Actually, a lot of Iraqis would be, too.

  2. I thought the Iraqi vote to eject the US from Iraq gave President Trump the opening he needed to withdraw our personnel...

    1. It could have--although it was, as I understood it, only a resolution, not a directive.

      I wonder whether this leak of the letter was calculated. A US withdrawal from Iraq--even while maintaining other bases--would almost certainly have hugely negative consequences for all regional players from Afghanistan to the Mediterranean: Iran, Iraq, Turkey, Syria, Russia. This may have been Trump calling the bluff on these folks.