Iraqi security forces have refused to ask Americans for help in dealing with violence since the June 30 scaling down of U.S. presence in Iraqi cities, McClatchy’s Mike Tharp reports.
According to one American officer interviewed by McClatchy, “the Iraqis have been hell-bent on taking control of all security operations in [Baghdad] and completely excluding the Americans, to the point of completely refusing to permit U.S. patrols of any kind into the city except logistics convoys.”
The failure to trigger the ‘Onstar option’ suggests that the government of Iraq and its military think that they can deal with the car bombings, homemade bombs and attacks with silencer-equipped handguns that have plagued parts of the country in recent days.
That may be, but just so we understand what we’re talking about, let me point out a couple of things:
One, it is not the Iraqi Army that is in charge of security in Baghdad, but the paramilitary National Police. Hence, it is not the military that is dealing with the violence, but the ill-equipped and badly demoralised NP, which not long ago was accused of being nothing but a Shia militia.
Two, American “unilateral” patrols were all but banned long before the June 30 “pullout”, so there is really nothing shocking about U.S. troops not venturing out of their bases. As an American soldier sums up in the story:
‘Business is pretty much as usual. Our guys don’t ask for help on the ground very often, and not at all since the 30th. We give them the usual help, and they mention several times how pleased they are that we are still here with them.’
That’s it — business as usual. It’s a non-story. Why the usually dependable McClatchy chose to sex it up is beyond me. Read it carefully, though, and you’ll notice an interesting thing: although the story never spells it out, it’s clear U.S. troops haven’t actually pulled out of Baghdad, they’re just sitting in their JSSs waiting for that phone call.