On Friday, the U.S. transferred control of Camp Victory to Iraqi security forces. This base was once the headquarters of its operations, and now is a symbol of the country’s imminent withdrawal from Iraq.
In the article linked above, U.S. Vice President Biden notes that “Iraqi security forces have been well-trained, prepared, and you are fully capable of meeting the challenges.” However, recent violent attacks in the country raise concern that violence will increase after American troops depart. One such attack targeted either the Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki or the Speaker of Parliament Osama al-Najafi.
One actor leaders are concerned will attempt to take advantage of U.S. departure from Iraq is neighboring Iran. It is believed that Iran is funding and providing arms to Shiite groups in the country. The Islamic Republic would love to have a friendly regime next door. However, if that does not occur, at least by sowing instability in its neighbor, Iran does not have to worry about a repeat of the Iran-Iraq war any time soon.
After nine years, 4,400 U.S. soldiers killed, and over $1 trillion, it would be a shame to see Iraq fall victim to increased violence after the U.S. departed. Iraqi officials must feel the same way. Deals to ensure Iraqi security are currently being discussed. The New York Times Topic page on Iraq notes the potential for some U.S. troops to return in 2012 or under the guise of NATO. However, those people who denounce U.S. presence in Iraq and who see the current U.S. withdrawal as a welcomed end would not be happy with this option. Another possibility is for training of Iraqi security forces to occur, perhaps in a neighboring country or even in the U.S.
Whatever the case, the Iraqi public deserves a better, more secure future. I hope that leaders in the U.S., Iraq, and the rest of the world see that this occurs.