[The US insists that wherever its troops go, they must operate with impunity–immunity from prosecution or any accountability. In time, this makes the going difficult for the local “native” politicians and administrators of war zones and military occupations, whose precarious illegitimate authority requires invoking national sovereignty and NOT total submission to foreign invaders. So, despite the Obama administration pressing the imperial demand for immunity for US soldiers, the Iraqi government could not publicly submit. Obama attempted to turn this defeat for imperial dictates into an announcement that he is pulling all US troops out of Iraq by the end of this year, thereby fulfilling his “anti-war” pledge of the 2008 campaign. Which could, superficially, look like a win-win for warmakers and peacemakers–except for the fact that it’s not true, as this article from the British “The Guardian” explains. — Frontlines ed.]
39,000 soldiers will leave Iraq this year, but US military control will continue in such guises as security and training
Tuesday 25 October 2011
Barack Obama has made good on one of his election promises, announcing: “After nearly nine years, America’s war in Iraq will be over.” The Iraqis’ assertion of their sovereignty – meaning no legal immunity for US troops – was the deal-breaker, and 39,000 US soldiers will leave Iraq by the end of the year.
Jonathan Steele wrote that the Iraq war was over and the US had learned “that putting western boots on the ground in a foreign war, particularly in a Muslim country, is madness”. Yet this madness may continue in a different guise, as there is a huge gap between rhetoric and reality surrounding the US departure from Iraq. In fact, there are a number of avenues by which the US will be able to exert military influence in the country.
These can be divided into four main categories:
Embassy, consulates and private security contractors
The US embassy – the largest and most expensive in the world – is in a green zone of its own in Baghdad, supplied by armed convoys and generating its own water and electricity, and treating its own sewage. At 104 acres, the embassy is almost the same size as Vatican City. It is here that the US is transforming its military-led approach into one of muscular diplomacy.
State department figures show that some 17,000 personnel will be under the jurisdiction of the US ambassador. In addition, there are also consulates in Basra, Mosul and Kirkuk, which have been allocated more than 1,000 staff each. Crucially, all these US staff, including military and security contractors, will have diplomatic immunity. Essentially, the Obama administration is reaping the political capital of withdrawing US troops while hedging the impact of the withdrawal with an increase in private security contractors working for a diplomatic mission unlike any other on the planet. Continue reading
[India is pressing forward in its assigned role as sub-imperialist and regional hegemonic power. Militarily, it is taking the lead in military training of surrounding countries. Of special note is that the countries requesting this training in “counter-insurgency” training include Nepal. PM Bhattarai of Nepal is currently visiting India and making a series of agreements which revolutionary Maoists have characterized as betrayals of Nepal’s national sovereignty. — Frontlines ed.]
“During 2011-12, India is scheduled to undertake more than 15 international military exercises with different friendly and strategic nations and ‘Shakti 11’, a joint Indo-French military exercise is one of them,” Colonel P S Minhas, Director at the International Defence Cooperation cell, said here Friday.
Around 16?19 exercises and trainings with international friendly nations including Nepal have been scheduled to be held during this period.
The list of countries who want to train with the Indian Army includes the US, the UK, France, Russia, Mongolia, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan to Bangladesh, Myanmar, Nepal, Maldives, Seychelles, Singapore, Indonesia and Thailand. Continue reading