Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Iraq, Afghanistan, Africa and the Future of War

Obama to Declare End to Combat Operations in Iraq

President Obama is preparing to officially declare the end of US combat operations in Iraq seven-and-a-half years after the US invasion. Obama will make the announcement in a nationally televised speech tonight from the Oval Office. He gave a preview of his speech in his weekly radio address over the weekend.
President Obama: "On Tuesday, after more than seven years, the United States of America will end its combat mission in Iraq and take an important step forward in responsibly ending the Iraq war. As a candid ate for this office, I pledged I would end this war. As president, that’s what I’m doing." (bull shit)

While President Obama is claiming the war is ending, the US still maintains a large presence in Iraq. Fifty thousand US troops remain in Iraq to help with training and logistics. In addition, the US is keeping 4,500 special operations forces in Iraq to carry out counterterrroism operations. Tens of thousands of private contractors will also remain in the country.

UN: Iraq Still Faces Humanitarian Crisis

The United Nations refugee agency says Iraq is still facing a humanitarian crisis with 1.5 million people still internally displaced in the country. Daniel Endres, the representative of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees in Iraq, said there is widespread concern that Iraq’s humanitarian crisis will be forgotten as attention shifts elsewhere.
Daniel Endres: "It’s very important that post-conflict or transition countries—because part of it is still conflict—receive sufficient support for a certain period, because statistics show that the majority of post-conflict situations plunge back into conflict within seven years. And very often you can trace it back to a lack of attention or not sustained support in these critical post-conflict years."

Gibbs: US Is Increasing Fight Against al-Qaeda in Africa and Southeast Asia

White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs has said President Obama may also talk tonight about how the the US is expanding the war against al-Qaeda by carrying out strikes in Africa and other areas beyond the battlefields of Afghanistan and Iraq.
Robert Gibbs: "I think you have seen a commitment to taking our fight directly to the leadership throughout the world, all over the world, in different places, be it in and around Africa, be it in Southeast Asia. I think the President made a commitment to increase the tempo of that fight, and that’s exactly what he’s done."

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