Iraqi Withdrawal May Spur Terror

Obama says the US is pulling out of Iraq—but 50,000 “anti-terror” troops will remain as suicide bombings escalate and Al-Qaeda’s presence grows.

Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu, | updated: 09:54

US Marines raid suspected suicide bomb garage
US Marines raid suspected suicide bomb garage
Israel news photo: Wikimedia Commns

The “pullout” from Iraq announced by U.S. President Barack Obama Monday in truth is only partial, and the 50,000 remaining “anti-terror” troops face an increase in suicide bombings as Al-Qaeda’s strength increases.

President Obama said that the American troops would leave Iraq "as promised and on schedule," adding that that the United States’ commitment in Iraq is changing “from a military effort led by our troops to a civilian effort led by our diplomats."

However, a “transitional” force of 50,000 soldiers will remain, and they are likely to be involved in fighting as Iraqi commanders asked them for help on the front lines, the Associated Press reported Tuesday.

Despite the stated aims of the war to end terror and allow a stable government in Baghdad, the number of suicide bombings is higher than last year. In addition, elections have left the government without a clear winner, creating a political stalemate.

Obama claimed that “violence in Iraq continues to be near the lowest it's been in years" - but July was the deadliest in two years, according to Iraqi authorities.

Optimists in 2002 envisioned that the American invasion of Iraq would encourage protest groups in Iran to overthrow the regime of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and counter Syrian’s aid to anti-Israeli Hizbullah terrorists in Lebanon.

Instead, Israel faces increased threats, Ahmadinejad has maintained a tighter grip on Iran, Hizbullah has virtually merged with the Lebanese army and Syria has returned to be a dominant force in Beirut through Hizbullah's representation in the government. Furthermore, a lengthy political vacuum in Iraq might allow terrorists to forge a new alliance between Baghdad and the Syrian-Iranian-Hamas-Hizbullah axis.

Al-Qaeda terrorists have benefited from the Iraqi political vacuum, according to an ABC News report filed by Prof. Amin Saikal, Director of the Centre for Arab and Islamic Studies at the Australian National University.

He wrote that Al-Qaeda has increased “their violent activities for political, strategic and criminal gains,” adding that “the situation is most likely to worsen once the United States starts withdrawing its forces."

Prof. Saikal pointed out that the Kurds, who comprise 20 percent of the Iraqi population, “have created virtually an independent state of their own in northern Iraq." One of the hoped for results of the war in Iraq was to bring the Kurds into an Iraqi government, but “as American troops leave Iraq, an escalating conflict is emerging between Turkey and the Kurds,” he added.