President Obama has established a deadline for the departure of American troops from Iraq which in theory has a firm deadline of 2011, but in reality there is considerable flexibility regarding when the last American soldier leaves Iraq. Geneeral Ray Odierno insists “I think that Iraq leadership is focused on that this ends in 2011.” Even as he spoke, there was a continuation of bombings in Iraq which apparently is escalating over the past few weeks. Odierno believes during the ensuing 18 months of a large scale American presence, the last remnants of al-Qaida will be destroyed either by American or Iraq forces. But, General Odierno did admit, “In a few key areas, Iraq will have to make a decision on whether they are ready to control the entire operations areas.”
A major unanswered question is what happens if Iraqi forces are still struggling to contain al-Qaida in 2011? Does that mean American troops will be compelled to remain? In reality, the real date for departure has yet to be clearly determined.
The government of Pakistan is angry at what it terms an American incursion within its territory that resulted in the death of 20 civilians including women and children. The attack occurred in a remote South Waziristan village. Pakistan officials claim three helicopter gunships and commandos were involved in a pre-dawn attack on a house in the village. Witnesses said troops entered the house of a local tribesman, opened fire, and threw a bomb into the house. Pakistan military officials said they had the right to retaliate against those who conducted the operation. Prime Minister Gilani termed the attack “cowardly” and “outrageous” and expressed his anger that US forces were conducting military operations within his nation without authorization of the Pakistan government.
There is no doubt Taliban and al-Qaeda forces operate within Pakistan territory. The issue that has yet to be adequately addressed is how best to deal with this situation. American military leaders want action, Pakistan government officials want to use negotiation. Until that difference is bridged this will not be an isolated incident.
A coalition of five Sunni militant groups issued a joint statement which promises to increase attacks on American troops because of US support of Israel’s policies in the Gaza strip. The announcement by the “Iraqi Resistance Campaign To Help Gaza” appeared on the Internet. It described American and Israel leaders as “war ciminals” and promised the people of Gaza that help would shortly arrive promising although they were fighting “the enemies of God in Iraq, this will not deter from helping our brothers(Palestinians) because the enemy is one and the victim is one.”
This announcement should not be surprising because Muslim miilitants seek to create anger within the American army against Israel. They want US soldiers to believe if one of them is killed it all stems from Israel actions in Gaza. The situation in Gaza must be resolved and if it is, Islamic militants will still be fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Posted in Human Rights, Iraq, Islam, Judaism, Military, Muslims, Peace, Politics, United States, US Foreign Policy, War, World News
Tagged Iraq-Gaza, Islamic militants, US troops