Democracy Now: U.S. to Keep Private Forces, Negotiate New Military Terms in Iraq; Clinton Warns Iran on Withdrawal

Despite withdrawing nearly all troops by the end of 2011, the United States will still maintain a large force of private contractors. According to ABC News, at least 5,000 contractors will remain in Iraq in addition to more than 4,500 support personnel. The United States closed its regional headquarters in northern Iraq in advance of the withdrawal date. Speaking on NBC’s Meet the Press, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said the United States will maintain strong military ties with Iraq, and issued a warning to Iran over trying to exert influence following the U.S. withdrawal.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton: “No one should miscalculate America’s resolve and commitment to helping support the Iraqi democracy. We have paid too high a price to give the Iraqis this chance. And I hope that Iran and no one else miscalculates that. So we are now going to have a security relationship with Iraq for training and support of their military, similar to what we have around the world from Jordan to Colombia.”
In addition to maintaining a large private force in Iraq, Obama administration officials have also floated the possibility of maintaining a large military deployment in neighboring countries such as Kuwait. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said the United States will negotiate a new agreement with Iraq over military training and assistance.
Leon Panetta: “Once we’ve completed the reduction of the combat presence, then I think we begin a process of negotiating with them in order to determine what will be the nature of that relationship—what kind of training do they need, what kinds of security needs do they need, and how can we provide it in an effective way. We do this in other countries. That’s what we’re going to do in Iraq.”

~ by wheresthemic on October 25, 2011.

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