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Americans withdraw from Iraq
by Thanos Kalamidas
2009-07-04 09:46:38
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So is Iraq finally free and ready to protect itself and its democracy? A pop concert in the Baghdad Zoo Park and fireworks in the evening sky say so, but a bomb blast in the center says there is still a lot of work to be done. At least now they are their own master; they’re ready to plan and build a future of their own country and destiny. Security forces, well trained and armed, patrolled Iraq while the US forces were marching out of the cities and towns all around the country. The last day of June 2009 was declared a public holiday, and the Iraqi flag can be seen in every house, marking a new era for the Iraqi people, now that they are on their own.

This is definitely a changed society from the Saddam era and definitely a society with a lot of wounds to heal. Yes, the Americans and their allies count a few thousands dead from this war, but the Iraqi people count a few hundred thousand. And the Americans that have been the reason and the excuse for the continuation of the deaths will not go out so easily; you see the army might step out and by 2011 supposedly will no longer be American or ally. But there is another issue that keeps Americans around, the reconstruction of Iraq and – something that largely was behind the invasion from the start – the Iraqi oil!

Iraq has a lot of oil and the American companies want this oil, actually they think that they have every right to this oil, they are the liberators and it was their own man in the presidential seat when the liberation order came. At the moment it looks like the Iraqi state is managing to keep its dignity by putting the rules of the game where the Iraqi people have an equal share. The first of eight contracts has been finalized with the British and the Chinese, agreeing to run 17 billion barrels from the Rumaila field. You might underestimate this, but you can’t ignore the fact that the future of Iraq, under national and international circumstances, depends on the oil and it is the government’s obligation to protect it, or better sell it expensively.

And hopefully they will do so, despite the fact that the other side has used every possible method against them. Even Turkey is involved in the game, often playing the terrorism card, with the Iraqi Kurds as the target with the Turkish Petroleum Corp playing on one side and the Turkish tanks on the other. And this is aside from the Americans and the all mighty EXXON. The Iraqis have learned not to beg with Dick Chaney – who is the former Vice President and a big oil-man sitting in the back seat. Tragically, while this huge game of the future of Iraq is going on, another bomb exploded in Kirkuk just ten days after another one had killed 70 people, killing 27 this time and leaving an unknown number of wounded.

The Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Maliki said: "Those who think that Iraqis are not able to protect their country and that the withdrawal of foreign forces will create a security vacuum are committing a big mistake." But this brings out another problem of today’s Iraq. The security forces must actively prove that they are not Shias or Sunnis, and definitely not American puppets - something both sides wanted them to be up until now. This is a difficult task and the government has a lot of work to do. Hopefully the danger of a civil war, just a few months ago, disappeared. Perhaps the election of Barrack Obama as the American President helped, perhaps the different sides got tired of all the blood, but the truth is that if the Iraqi people want to stand up soon, they must unite and leave their differences aside for a later debate, away from missiles and bombs.

I know that this is far easier said than done, especially with so many interests involved – often foreign interests – but they have to remember that it’s only one year ago when they talked about the American occupation. Now the American forces are leaving, and they can see it and feel it. It is up to them to survive and prosper, and that’s definitely what everybody should wish for them.
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