US concerned other countries won’t respect Iraq’s ‘sovereignty’
50,000 US troops needed to prevent ‘interference from outside countries’
Irony, thy name is US intelligence.
Perhaps the invasion of Iraq was only a test. Acting like a hacker might, the United States saw defensive weaknesses, and decided that a preemptive invasion could be in Iraq’s best interests.
50,000 US troops, left behind after the US pulls out, will help Iraq thwart “interference from outside countries,” General Ray Odierno, the commander of American troops in Iraq, told Christiane Amanpour on ABC News’ This Week, Politico’s Kendra Marr blogs.
“What are you noticing in terms of interference potentially from other funded groups from the neighbors?” Amonpour asked on Sunday. “Do you notice or are you alarmed that there may be any kind of other countries trying to take advantage of what is a bit of a political vacuum right now?”
Well, Iraq, as you well know, Christiane, Iraq is a strategically important place in the Middle East, just by its geographic location, by its population, by the influence it’s had in the Middle East for a long time. So neighboring countries from around the Middle East have an interest inside of Iraq.
But I will tell you that I think Iraqis themselves are nationalistic in nature, and that’s why it’s important. A strong Iraq will defend itself against interference from outside countries, and I think as we build a strong Iraq and as we continue to build a strong security mechanism and as we continue to help them economically and diplomatically, that will make it less likely of others from the outside being able to interfere.
Now, for the vacuum as we see today, again, I remind everyone is that we still have a significant presence here, and we are not going to — we will not allow undue maligned influence on the Iraqi government as they attempt to form their government. What we’re trying to do is provide them the space and time for them to do that, and we will continue to do that post 1 September. We’ll still have a significant civilian presence, and again, we’ll still have 50,000 troops on the ground here to ensure that this government can be formed by the Iraqis. And that all the other nations respect their sovereignty as they go about forming their government.
As RAW STORY reported on Sunday, “Odierno said it wasn’t the security profile that gave him the most concern ahead of the August 31 deadline.”
“There will be people who attempt to take advantage of the opportunity of the attention being brought upon the August 31 date. And so there will be groups who try to take advantage of that and show weakness on the government of Iraq and create some sort of lack of confidence of the people in the process as we move forward,” he said.