The United States and Iraq are close to a deal that would mean the withdrawal of American troops from Iraqi cities by next summer and departure of all combat troops by the end of 2010, McClatchy reports.
The 2011 deadline is no big surprise, but pulling U.S. forces out of the cities as soon as June 2009 raises serious questions. It would presumably mean not only vacating the Green Zone but iraqisizing the COPs in contested cities like Mosul, and Baghdad, where sectarian fault lines have been reinforced with American-built walls. It’s a terrible idea, probably based on the hubristic assumption that the ebbing of one militant group’s fortunes means the country is on a straight road to lasting peace.
I can’t see how the Iraqi Army can possibly cope once the Americans are gone from the streets. They’re not ready, as they themselves readily admit, and a mere 12 months won’t make much of a difference — particularly as their foes, from AQI to militias and common criminals, will lay low, comfortable in the knowledge that they don’t have much longer to wait.