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Unread 12-28-2010, 02:19 PM   #1
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Iraq: Hey America, GTFO!

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BAGHDAD—Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki ruled out the presence of any U.S. troops in Iraq after the end of 2011, saying his new government and the country's security forces were capable of confronting any remaining threats to Iraq's security, sovereignty and unity.

Mr. Maliki spoke with The Wall Street Journal in a two-hour interview, his first since Iraq ended nine months of stalemate and seated a new government after an inconclusive election, allowing Mr. Maliki to begin a second term as premier.

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Max Becherer for The Wall Street Journal
Nouri al-Maliki seated in his office. In an interview, he said Iraq would assume responsibility for all its own security by the end of 2011, and would not fall into alignment with Iran.

A majority of Iraqis—and some Iraqi and U.S. officials—have assumed the U.S. troop presence would eventually be extended, especially after the long government limbo. But Mr. Maliki was eager to draw a line in his most definitive remarks on the subject. "The last American soldier will leave Iraq" as agreed, he said, speaking at his office in a leafy section of Baghdad's protected Green Zone. "This agreement is not subject to extension, not subject to alteration. It is sealed."

He also said that even as Iraq bids farewell to U.S. troops, he wouldn't allow his nation to be pulled into alignment with Iran, despite voices supporting such an alliance within his government.

Video Archives: On Iraq

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Obama Speech Marks New Focus in Iraq, at Home
"For Iraq to be dragged into an axis or an orbit, that's impossible, and we reject it whether this comes from Iran, Turkey or the Arabs," he said.

He added that a kind of "paranoia" about a Tehran-Baghdad alliance in the U.S. is matched by a fear in Iran about U.S. influence: "An Iranian official visited me in the past and told me, 'I thought the Americans were standing at the door of your office,' " he said.

In an interview in Washington, Vice President Joe Biden also said Iran had failed to buy influence during the election or to co-opt Mr. Maliki, who was among the members of the current Iraqi government who briefly took refuge in Iran during the reign of Saddam Hussein.

Mr. Maliki's new majority depends partly on followers of anti-American cleric Moqtada al-Sadr. But Mr. Biden credited Mr. Maliki for denying Mr. Sadr's bloc any control of Iraqi security, while forming a government with full buy-in from Iraq's main factions of Sunnis, Shiites and Kurds.

U.S. military commanders still accuse Iran of funding, training and providing sanctuary to Shiite militias, like Mr. Sadr's Promised Day Brigades, which they say are responsible for attacks against U.S. forces and gangster-style assassinations that continue to plague Baghdad and other areas.

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Max Becherer for The Wall Street Journal
Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki talking with The Wall Street Journal.

Maliki on Iraq's Future

"Our country has the liberal, secular, Islamist, conservative, Christian, Muslim, tribal. This is our country. ... Now listen, all those that you meet among the officials are referred to by their tribe. I am al-Maliki attributed to Bani Malik, a large tribe present in Iraq and extending to the Hijaz and Yemen. So denying reality will produce nothing."
-- More from the interview

Baghdad to Tackle Oil Issues, PM Vows
Mr. Maliki suggested his government had co-opted militias like the one associated with Mr. Sadr. "The militias are now part of the government and have entered the political process," said Mr. Maliki. The Sadr contingent, he added, "is moving in a satisfactory direction of taking part in the government, renouncing violence and abandoning military activity, and that's why we welcome it."

Security is the new government's top priority, Mr. Maliki said, as in his previous term. Sectarian violence and suicide bombings continue to plague the country as the full withdrawal of U.S. soldiers nears. Almost a dozen people were killed in double suicide bombings on Monday outside provincial government offices in the city of Ramadi, west of Baghdad, according to security officials.

A resumption of more extreme violence, of course, could alter the thinking in Baghdad and Washington about the U.S. timetable.

But Mr. Maliki said the only way for any of the remaining 50,000 or so American soldiers to stay beyond 2011 would be for the two nations to negotiate—with the approval of Iraq's Parliament—a new Status of Forces Agreement, or SOFA, similar to the one concluded in 2008.

That deal took a year of protracted negotiations in the face of vehement opposition from many among Mr. Maliki's own Shiite constituency, and no repeat is expected.

Mr. Maliki and U.S. officials have refrained for the most part from raising the issue publicly during the months of political wrangling in Baghdad, as Mr. Maliki negotiated with potential coalition partners, many of whom have adamantly opposed an extended U.S. stay.

A senior official in President Barack Obama's administration said Washington was "on track" to withdraw all its remaining soldiers in Iraq by the end of next year. That's the final milestone in the security agreement, following the reduction in American troop levels to below 50,000 in August and the pullout of U.S. soldiers from most Iraqi inner cities in June 2009. "The prime minister is exactly right," said the senior official.

During the interview, Mr. Maliki said he was heartened by America's "commitment" to honoring the agreements it reached with Iraq, and he laughed approvingly when told that U.S. Ambassador James F. Jeffrey keeps a frayed copy of the so-called Strategic Framework Agreement in his leather briefcase. That document calls, in broad terms, for long-term cooperation in security, defense, economy, energy and culture, among other areas.

In a briefing for Western reporters last week, Mr. Jeffrey said that despite the requirement to pull out all American troops at the end of 2011, the framework document and other agreements between Baghdad and Washington contain "a very robust security agenda."

The U.S. embassy in Baghdad will house a "significantly sized" office aimed at security cooperation, Mr. Jeffrey said, comprised of about 80 to 90 military personnel that would take over most of the current functions of the U.S. military in advising, assisting, training and equipping Iraqi forces. That's similar to arrangements with other countries in the region, including Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Turkey. The embassy would also oversee a major Iraqi police-training program.

Mr. Maliki played down Iraq's need for any major help from the U.S. military, even while acknowledging serious deficiencies in areas including control of airspace and borders. He said the days when ethnic or sectarian-based militias roamed the streets of Iraq and operated above the law were over.

"Not a single militia or gang can confront Iraqi forces and take over a street or a house," said Mr. Maliki. "This is finished; we are comfortable about that."

He said full withdrawal of U.S. troops also will remove a prime motivator of insurgents—both the Shiite fighters tied to militia groups and Iran, and Sunnis linked to Mr. Hussein's ousted Baath party.

Mr. Maliki defended his political horse trading with rival factions, many of which are seen as far apart on several substantial policy issues. He called the post-election process—in which he managed to prevail despite his own party bloc failing to gain the most votes—"very arduous."

He acknowledged that he expanded the number of cabinet seats just to placate the squabbling parties that he eventually cobbled together into his governing coalition, arguably the broadest since the fall of Mr. Hussein.

"I mean seven to eight ministries are, allow me to say, ministries for appeasement purposes," he said.

Mr. Maliki said he agreed to several Kurdish demands, including a referendum in contested northern regions, though he didn't think it was feasible without a constitutional amendment to accompany it.

Washington is so concerned about the standoff in the north—where Arabs, Kurds, Turkmen and smaller ethnic groups have faced off—that a large contingent of U.S. soldiers continues to staff joint security checkpoints there, as diplomats work on political solutions.

The referendum was one of 19 demands made by Kurdish President Masoud Barzani in exchange for a power-sharing deal that ended the gridlock that followed the March elections. The resulting unity government headed by Mr. Maliki, a Shiite, includes Kurds and a Sunni-dominated bloc headed by the secular Shiite and former Prime Minister Ayad Allawi.

Mr. Allawi, whose bloc won the most seats in the election but couldn't form a majority, will chair a new National Council for Higher Policies, but won't be able to implement policies without broad government support.
Iraqi Prime Minister Says U.S. Forces Must Leave On Time - WSJ.com

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Unread 12-28-2010, 02:28 PM   #2
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Funny, from the thread title, I'm not really getting an overwhelming sense of "America, GTFO" from what's been posted. Sounds like he's stepping up a bit and just restating what's already known. That America and Iraq's fledgling government are on track to scale back (and phase out) America's involvement / troop presence.

Great.

Next.
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Unread 12-28-2010, 02:28 PM   #3
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Sounds good to me.

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Unread 12-28-2010, 02:32 PM   #4
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Funny, from the thread title, I'm not really getting an overwhelming sense of "America, GTFO" from what's been posted. Sounds like he's stepping up a bit and just restating what's already known. That America and Iraq's fledgling government are on track to scale back (and phase out) America's involvement / troop presence.

Great.

Next.
Oh come on, what fun would this section be without a good sensationalist thread title?

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Unread 12-28-2010, 02:40 PM   #5
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Oh come on, what fun would this section be without a good sensationalist thread title?
Not much fun, you're right!

<Kung Fu Voice> Let's FIGHT!!!! </Kung Fu Voice>

I do hope we stick to what's been agreed upon (as countries) and get the martha fock OUT of there as soon as possible, but I fear the Iraqis will only step up half-assedly OR, America will find an *excuse* to stick around a lot longer than we need to or should.
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Unread 12-28-2010, 02:48 PM   #6
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I'm looking at it like Germany, South Korea or Vietnam... lots of lives and money lost but over time, they'll probably adopt more Western culture and pickup industrializing/exporting. Lemons->Lemonade and all that.

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Unread 12-28-2010, 02:55 PM   #7
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I'm looking at it like Germany, South Korea or Vietnam... lots of lives and money lost but over time, they'll probably adopt more Western culture and pickup industrializing/exporting. Lemons->Lemonade and all that.
Exactly

And Walmart. Iraq needs Walmart. Oh and KFC too. And plenty of brothels. But with chicks. Not little kids.
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Unread 12-28-2010, 03:10 PM   #8
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And Walmart. Iraq needs Walmart. .
Well this could've been achieved had we done what some of the most radical right-wingers I know had suggested; nuked the hell out of all the middle east.

That would've created a large enough parking lot for the world's biggest walmart.....


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Unread 12-28-2010, 03:13 PM   #9
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Well this could've been achieved had we done what some of the most radical right-wingers I know had suggested; nuked the hell out of all the middle east.

That would've created a large enough parking lot for the world's biggest walmart.....
Nuking it from orbit, that's the only way to be sure

And it would've turned the whole place into a nice sheet of glass... and set the clock back, what, 3 weeks? I keed I keed
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Unread 12-28-2010, 03:16 PM   #10
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And in a thousand years, it'll actually have inhabitable radiation levels when people will actually be able to go there.

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Unread 12-28-2010, 03:21 PM   #11
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And in a thousand years, it'll actually have inhabitable radiation levels when people will actually be able to go there.
Not if you use the Neutron Bomb. Doesn't the Neutron Bomb destroy almost all organic life and leave infrastructure (buildings/etc) more or less in place but with faster radioactive decay?

From the Wiki apparently the answer is kinda. It has a reduced explosive yield compared to other nuclear weapons, but apparently it does .... shit up pretty hard (hey it's a nuke) so... so much for infrastructure intact...

Neutron bomb - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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Unread 12-28-2010, 03:54 PM   #12
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But wait.. I thought we were already out of there!



And then, we were out of there again!

Obama declares that combat In Iraq is over

If my calculations are correct, this means we're double-out-of-there now, right? How much more out of there could we be?

Or, did maybe the second out of there cancel out the first out of there?


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Unread 12-28-2010, 03:56 PM   #13
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Third time's the charm?

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Unread 12-28-2010, 03:57 PM   #14
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We need to be out of there at *least* once or twice more for it to take effect. Then maybe once more after that, just to be safe
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Unread 12-28-2010, 04:21 PM   #15
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but if we leave how are we supposed to build our oil empire?
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Unread 12-28-2010, 04:38 PM   #16
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but if we leave how are we supposed to build our oil empire?
"We don't take our forces and go around the world and try to take other people's real estate or other people's resources, their oil. That's just not what the United States does," he said. "We never have, and we never will. That's not how democracies behave."

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Unread 12-28-2010, 04:38 PM   #17
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Hey we conquered it, it's ours now, we will leave when we feel like it. In fact I'm thinking of buying a vacation house over there and getting nice and cozy. Iraq the 53rd state in the union.
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Unread 12-28-2010, 04:40 PM   #18
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It's like when someone on the forum says they're out of here, then tries to sign up a duplicate account-

Or like Monty Python and the Holy Grail's Nights Who Say Ni!

We are no longer the USA! We are now the USA ekki ekki ekki ftang pow mumble mumble...

Anyway, I feel awful for the service men and women who left home while the economy was in decent shape only to come back to a country with an unemployment rate in the teens and a literacy rate pushing the sixties.

As you all know, I feel pretty strongly that we should have never been there in the first place.

Ha ha, 53rd state! After Germany and Japan, I presume?

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Unread 12-28-2010, 04:41 PM   #19
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Hey we conquered it, it's ours now, we will leave when we feel like it. In fact I'm thinking of buying a vacation house over there and getting nice and cozy. Iraq the 53rd state in the union.
Who are the 52nd and 51st states?
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Unread 12-28-2010, 04:44 PM   #20
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Is Iraq allowed to form their own standing army?

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Unread 12-28-2010, 04:45 PM   #21
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Who are the 52nd and 51st states?
I'm sure he's referring to Puerto Rico and... uh... something else that I don't know about off the top of my head.
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Unread 12-28-2010, 04:47 PM   #22
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It's like when someone on the forum says they're out of here, then tries to sign up a duplicate account-

Or like Monty Python and the Holy Grail's Nights Who Say Ni!

We are no longer the USA! We are now the USA ekki ekki ekki ftang pow mumble mumble...

Anyway, I feel awful for the service men and women who left home while the economy was in decent shape only to come back to a country with an unemployment rate in the teens and a literacy rate pushing the sixties.

As you all know, I feel pretty strongly that we should have never been there in the first place.

Ha ha, 53rd state! After Germany and Japan, I presume?

Great post.


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I'm sure he's referring to Puerto Rico and... uh... something else that I don't know about off the top of my head.
I'd assume so, but that would be incorrect nonetheless. I don't know the other he may be referring to either. If I'm not mistaken, however, we own more than two other territories though.
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Unread 12-28-2010, 04:49 PM   #23
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Originally Posted by The Armada View Post

I'd assume so, but that would be incorrect nonetheless. I don't know the other he may be referring to either. If I'm not mistaken, however, we own more than two other territories though.
Oh I know, I'm just going with what I've heard people say before.
The only one I can think of right now is Puerto Rico, but I'm sure there are at least a few others. (I mean come on, this is America)
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Unread 12-28-2010, 05:37 PM   #24
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51st probably being DC because there's been talk of them forming their own state. I'm all for lumping all the politicians into one state. One can only hope that another katrina would flood said state (provided that all the innocents are outta there)

The other option could be Canada. Bush has been talking about selling Canada to Mexico in order to pay off our debt to China for years......


Edit: Oh and the idea of the US having territory in the middle east is kind of a scary thought. Given that our only real nearby allies are Turkey and Saudi Arabia (which is "allied" whenever it suits them) and the rest of the region is surround with anti-west sentiments, I really would never wanna step foot in said territory. But at least there would be more metal bands in Iraq.


"Statement 1: Animals of two different species (not to mention entirely different orders) is now considered natural.
Statement 2: Man is an animal.
Statement 3: I'm booking a flight to Antarctica.
Statement 4: None of your damn business why." -Xaios
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Unread 12-28-2010, 07:22 PM   #25
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Not if you use the Neutron Bomb. Doesn't the Neutron Bomb destroy almost all organic life and leave infrastructure (buildings/etc) more or less in place but with faster radioactive decay?

From the Wiki apparently the answer is kinda. It has a reduced explosive yield compared to other nuclear weapons, but apparently it does .... shit up pretty hard (hey it's a nuke) so... so much for infrastructure intact...

Neutron bomb - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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