Caroline Glick


Next month, America's long campaign in Iraq will come to an end with the departure of the last US forces from the country.

Amazingly, the approaching withdrawal date has fomented little discussion in the US. Few have weighed in on the likely consequences of President Barack Obama's decision to withdraw on the US's hard won gains in that country.

After some six thousand Americans gave their lives in the struggle for Iraq and hundreds of billions of dollars were spent on the war, it is quite amazing that its conclusion is being met with disinterested yawns.

The general stupor was broken last week with The Weekly Standard's publication of an article titled, "Defeat in Iraq: President Obama's decision to withdraw US troops is the mother of all disasters."

The article was written by Frederick and Kimberly Kagan and Marisa Cochrane Sullivan. The Kagans contributed to conceptualizing the US's successful counterinsurgency strategy in Iraq, popularly known as "the surge," that president George W. Bush implemented in 2007.

In their article, the Kagans and Sullivan explain the strategic implications of next month's withdrawal. First they note that with the US withdrawal, the sectarian violence that the surge effectively ended will in all likelihood return in force. 

Iranian-allied Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki is purging the Iraqi military and security services and the Iraqi civil service of pro-Western, anti- Iranian commanders and senior officials. With American acquiescence, Maliki and his Shi'ite allies already managed to effectively overturn the March 2010 election results. Those elections gave the Sunni-dominated Iraqiya party led by former prime minister Ayad Allawi the right to form the next government.

Due to Maliki's actions, Iraq's Sunnis are becoming convinced they have little to gain from peacefully accepting the government.

The strategic implications of Maliki's purges are clear. As the US departs the country next month it will be handing its hard-won victory in Iraq to its greatest regional foe - Iran.

Repeating their behavior in the aftermath of Israel's precipitous withdrawal from southern Lebanon in May 2000, the Iranians and their Hezbollah proxies are presenting the US withdrawal from Iraq as a massive strategic victory.

They are also inventing the rationale for continued war against the retreating Americans. Iran's Hezbollah-trained proxy, Muqtada al-Sadr, has declared that US Embassy personnel are an "occupation force" that the Iraqis should rightly attack with the aim of defeating.

Caroline Glick

Caroline B. Glick is the senior Middle East fellow at the Center for Security Policy in Washington, D.C., and the deputy managing editor of The Jerusalem Post, where this article first appeared.

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