Sunday, July 1, 2012

#Iraq: #US Occupation - Iraq Questions Continued U.S. Presence Congress Warned.

Government experts told Congress that Iraq makes life difficult for the embassy in ways large and small, signaling ambivalence toward relations with Washington at a time when critics fear that the country is moving closer to Iran.

“The State Department and (Department of Defense) plan for a very large civilian-led presence in Iraq. But Iraqi commitment to that presence remains unclear,” Michael Courts of the US Government Accountability Office told a House hearing.

There were also doubts about Iraq’s desire to keep up “thousands” of costly reconstruction projects funded by US taxpayers, an ambitious multi-billion dollar program designed to leave an indelible “Made in America” stamp on post-invasion Iraq.

President Barack Obama withdrew the last US troops in December, ending America’s occupation of Iraq after almost nine years of war. Critics of that move say it has diminished US influence in Baghdad despite massive investment in the country.

The Shi’ite-dominated government of Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki insists that it wants good relations with the United States, and has signed a $6 billion purchase of American-built F16 warplanes. But it also has close ties with US foe Iran.

Baghdad has queried the size, location and security needs of the 14 US posts in the country and has only signed legally-binding land use agreements for five of the sites, Courts said.....read more

http://www.timeslive.co.za/world/2012/06/29/iraq-questions-continued-us-presence-congress-warned