10 years ago
Iraqi President Jalal Talabani has gone on record stating the obvious, i.e., that Iraq will need troop presence for some protracted period of time to protect against aggression from its neighbors (and it is presumed he is speaking mainly of Iran).
“The American presence has always prevented any kind of foreign invasion to Iraq,” Talabani said.
“That’s one of the main reasons why we think that we need an American presence, even symbolical, in the country to prevent our neighbors attacking us,” he said at a forum at the Woodrow Wilson Center, a Washington think thank (sic).
Talabani also said Baghdad could not “further tolerate” neighbors’ interference in its internal affairs.
“I think that our neighbors must understand that our patience is limited,” he said, refusing to single out countries but adding “we mean all of them.”
Iraq shares borders with Syria, Iran, Turkey, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait.
Asked if there was concern over aggression from Turkey, Talabani said: “I don’t think there is any danger for invasion by Turkey to Iraq.”
But as soon as he said this, dissenting voices began to howl back at this proposal, including specifically Sunni clerics and generally the Shia. It is no mistake that Talabani, a Kurdish politician who has reached out to the Sunni in an attempt at reconciliation, has made these statements. The Kurds and the Sunni population know exactly what the Shia majority is capable of given the recent revenge killings by Shia death squads.
I’ll go out on a limb and say that if the U.S. doesn’t have a strong military presence in Iraq for the foreseeable future, U.S. deaths will have been in vain. Our operation in Iraq will amount to nothing more than the overthrow of the Sunni strongman so that Iran could then wield its influence. That is, we will have done Iran’s work for them at the expense of U.S. lives.