Posts Tagged ‘General Ray Odierno’

US troops not likely to leave Iraq

October 3, 2009
Middle East Online, Oct 2, 2009

But with US military presence, Al-Qaeda won’t leave either

General Ray Odierno cites Al-Qaeda – again – as excuse to keep big US military force in Iraq.

WASHINGTON – Gaining the upper hand against Al-Qaeda in Iraq has required a big US military force coupled with manhunts against militant leaders, the American commander there said on Thursday.

“You have to have both combined,” General Ray Odierno, the commander of US forces in Iraq, told a news conference.

Al-Qaeda did not have a presence in Iraq, and observers say they are likely to remain in Iraq as long as US troops remain there because of their eagerness to follow and fight American military presence in the region.

Where there is little visible US presence, they add, there is usually little or no Al-Qaeda operations in the region.

Contrary to US “propaganda”, analysts believe that Al-Qaeda is more likely to leave Iraq in the absence of US occupation or military presence.

Continues >>

Gen. Odierno: US May Ignore Iraq Deadline Because of al-Qaeda

April 10, 2009

Missing June Deadline Likely a Further Setback to Obama ‘Withdrawal’ Plan, April 9, 2009

In yet another sign that the Obama Administration’s “pullout” timeline for Iraq is not set in stone, General Ray Odierno told The Times today that US combat troops may remain in Iraq’s cities beyond the June 30 deadline mandated by the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA). He pointed to increased trouble from al-Qaeda as the justification.

From some of its earliest leaked drafts the SOFA mandated that all US troops would be out of cities by the end of June, 2009. Lt. Gen. Lloyd Austin has previously said he thought the deadline was unlikely to be met, but this appears to be the first time the top commander in Iraq has publicly acknowledged that things are not going according to schedule.

In February, the Obama Administration revealed its new drawdown strategy, which planned to declare an official end to combat operations in August of 2010 (though up to 50,000 troops would remain, and continue to engage in combat). That already dramatically scaled back timeline, however, seems to have been predicated on a best-case scenario from a military perspective, and a delay in June could well mean a deal in August.

Related Stories

compiled by Jason Ditz [email the author]

Growing Evidence US Won’t Honor Iraq Pact

December 15, 2008

Gen. Odierno Says US Troops Will Remain in Cities Despite SOFA Timeline, December 14, 2008

Yesterday, top US military commander in Iraq General Ray Odierno said that, though the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) explicitly requires all US forces to be out of Iraqi cities by June 30, he expects troops will remain in the cities past that date. The Sadr bloc’s Liwaa Sumeissim said this underscored their belief that the US doesn’t feel bound by the pact, and that he expects the US to use any pretext to keep forces in Iraq beyond that 2011 deadline as well.

And once again, the Iraqi government seems to have little objection with the US going back on one of the key tenets of the SOFA it sold to parliament. The Iraqi Defense Ministry says that US troops will be allowed to remain in cities past the deadline with permission from the Iraqi government. The permission to flout the terms of the SOFA seems remarkably easy for the US to obtain, leaving open the question of which clauses of the pact will carry any weight going forward.

The parliamentary bloc of Shi’ite Cleric Moqtada al-Sadr stood as the primary opponents of the SOFA, which narrowly passed late last month. The bloc said the SOFA would legitimize the US occupation, and expressed skepticism that the US would honor the terms at any rate. The last few days have only strengthened that case.

And on Friday Iraqi government spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh, at a Pentagon press briefing, was already speaking of keeping American forces in Iraq past the 2011 “firm” deadline the SOFA dictates.

Related Stories

compiled by Jason Ditz [email the author]

%d bloggers like this: