– IRAQ’S SOVEREIGNTY DAY
Iraq marked with parades, on 06/30/2009, in most main cities of Iraq (not including the cities of Kurdistan) the implementation of the first stage in the Iraqi-US pact to restore Iraq sovereignty, approved by the Iraqi cabinet on 11/16/2008, the redeployment of American troops outside the urban areas of Iraq and the handing over of the security responsibility in those areas to the Iraq army and police. Iraq pompously named the celebration –the “Sovereignty Day”.
For the Americans it is the third stage of slowly restoring Iraq’s independence. The first stage was the so called “Surge” in American troops in Iraq, in 02/2007, and the new approach of Gen David Petraeus. Within this stage was the formation of so called ‘Awakening Councils’: former secular Baath and pro-Sadam loyalists who fought at the same time the Americans as an occupant, the Shiites in Iraq as Iranian protégés and the Islamists Al Qaeda affiliated organizations. With American money and weapons they switched sides to fight with the Americans against Al Qaeda in order to protect the Sunni community interests in Iraq. Although the strategy was successful in reducing violence in Iraq at about 85% the Awakening Councils were yet another armed militia in IRAQ’S conglomerate of armed militias without any legal status in Iraqi law.
In the first day of the redeployment 34 people were killed in Iraq in terror attacks, including 32 when a car bomb went off in a crowded outdoor market in the northern city of Kirkuk. Another 4 USA soldiers were killed by a roadside bomb in a suburb of Baghdad.
Gen. Ray Odierno, the Commander of USA Forces in Iraq, in a press conference in Baghdad, on Tuesday 06/30/2009, Accused Iran on continuing to support militants in Iraq by training and supplying them with arms and ammunition. It is a grim reminder that Iraq and USA forces in Iraq are still hostages of Iran and Iran can, easily, put Iraq in flames and turn the situation upside down should USA “pull the rope” too far and not behave herself.
All USA troops are due to withdraw from Iraq completely by 2012, three years ahead, but the only certainty in the Middle East is the uncertainty.
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