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Last U.S. Combat Brigade Leaves Iraq

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  • Last U.S. Combat Brigade Leaves Iraq

    The last U.S. combat brigade just pulled out of Iraq, ending the U.S. ground combat mission there. The last 1200 troops of the 4th Stryker Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division, crossed into Kuwait at the Khabari border crossing point shortly before dawn today. The route and timing of this last withdrawal was shrouded in secrecy to avoid any “parting shots” from potential insurgents looking for bragging rights down the road

    Whether it’s time to proclaim “Mission Accomplished” remains to be seen. We are leaving Iraq without a functioning government. Ever since the election last XXXX, no party has been able to put together a ruling coalition and the latest round of power-sharing talks broke down last week. As payments to the former insurgents of the Sunni Dawn movement have dried up, attacks on Shiites have increased. The Mahdi Army, the largest and most effective of the Shiite militias, has been quiet since adopting a self-imposed cease fire in 2007, but if Sunni attacks increase and no strong central government emerges capable of tamping down the violence emerges, that likely will change.

    It is worth remembering that the dramatic drop in violence in 2007 was due principally to two things which pre-dated the much-publicized surge. Those were the unilateral ceasefire of the Mahdi Army and the rise of the Sunni Awakening. When one of the two main sources of violence in a fight stops shooting and the other one switches sides, things get quiet pretty quick. Regular readers may recall I wrote about that last January.

    When ...


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