Friday, August 15, 2008

Out Of Iraq And Into Afghan Fire

Reports of UK troop withdrawals from Iraq in the coming months, is an ominous sign of the impending escalation in Bush and Blair's legacy of the increasingly hopeless war in Afghanistan. 

But Iraq is not the real problem. The real problem is in Afghanistan, which is rapidly turning into the new Vietnam.

In June, it was clear a timetable for withdrawal from Iraq may be made by the end of the year, paving the way for over-stretched troops to be switched to Afghanistan. 

The announcement is nothing new and this timetable has already been set by Washington.

The UN mandate for US forces occupying Iraq runs out at the end of the year and an illegal occupation is not an option. Iraq will strike a security deal with the US and the UK but only if this includes dates for the withdrawal of foreign forces.

A usual MoD spokesman is quoted as saying: “As a key Coalition partner, the US is intimately involved with the development of our future plans.”

Bush needs a timetable for withdrawal from Iraq for his legacy and the presidential election campaign.

Brown needs the withdrawal to try to rid New Labour of the Blair legacy in the run up to the next General Election. He faces a call to do something about troops in Iraq ahead of September's Labour Party conference and he needs to save face after popping up in Basra during the election-that-never-was and raising false hopes of troops withdrawals.

The UK still has more than 4,000 troops holed up near Basra after striking a deal with the local militia not to interfere. The UK has traditionally and historically kept a base in Southern Iraq and that will not change. It will just be smaller. 

Former infantry commander, Col Tim Collins, is reported in the Telegraph as saying for Britain to win back the respect and trust of the Americans after the “defeat” in Basra, it would need to “step up to the mark” in Afghanistan."

And that US 'special relationship' lies at the heart of the matter. 

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Now to repair New Labour and this 'special relationship', we finally have news of 9 months for the majority of troops to withdraw from Iraq... a bit late it seems