US combat troops are leaving Iraq as early as August next year. According to a senior white house spokesman, an announcement from President Barack Obama could come as early as this week.
Iraqi officials led by Prime Minister Naori al-Maliki welcomed the news report saying that Iraq is ready for the eventual troop’s withdrawal and assured that Iraqi forces are prepared to take responsibility.
The announcement, though unofficial at this time, was received with mixed emotions from Iraq.
‘I have no trust with Iraqi Security forces that they could take security because army and security forces were built on a sectarian basis’ said Thabit Mohammed Jassim, a 40 year old Sunni a shop owner in Tikrit, Saddam Hussein’s hometown. Hassim said violence would likely climb after American combat troops leave Iraq. Obama wants to withdraw not for Iraqis but because of economic problems they face internally and of hardships the troops are facing Iraq’, he said in a report by Yahoo news
‘We hope the withdrawal will take place sooner, he said. There are some who worried about increase in violence but it was time for ‘security forces to live up to their responsibility, he added.
But Ziad al-Sindiari, a 35 year old Sunni was less optimistic about the stability of the Iraqi forces. ‘The new Iraq army lacks experts. It needs the expertise of former Iraqi military forces. I hope the withdrawal will be soon , so militants can have no pretext of launching attacks against Americans in cities and hurting civilians’ he said.
President Obama’s decision to pull out the combat troops much earlier than previously announced was in keeping with his election campaign promise of early troop’s withdrawal from Iraq.
American troop’s withdrawal from Iraq has been a contentious issue in the US from the beginning. As the war progressed, American public opinion has turned in favor of early withdrawal. Surveys indicate that 55 % of Americans believe that Iraq war was a mistake and about 51 % favored immediate withdrawal.
The US government has long maintained that its involvement there is with the support of the Iraqi people but a survey in 2007 of more than 2,000 Iraqis found that 78 % of the population opposed the presence of the coalition forces in Iraq and 69% believed the presence of US troops is making things worse.
With these glaring statistics it is indeed appropriate and timely for President Obama to fast- track his Iraqi troop’s withdrawal plan.
In the meantime, the US troops and majority of the Iraqi people await his official announcement