Today’s Campaign Update, Part III
(Because The Campaign Never Ends)
Today, President Donald Trump called the Iraqi government’s bluff, authorizing the commanding general of joint coalition forces in Iraq to send a formal letter to the Iraqi commanding officer notifying him of pending operations for coalition forces to depart from Iraq. This comes in the wake of the vote of the Iraqi parliament over the weekend to demand U.S. forces leave the region.
Here is a photo of the letter that is circulating on social media:
sLTG Abu Amir
Deputy Director, Combined Joint Operations,Baghdad
Iraq-Ministry of Defense
Sir: In due deference to the sovereignty of the Republic of Iraq, and as requested by the Iraqi parliament and Prime Minister, CTJF-OIR will be repositioning forces over the coming days and weeks to prepare for onward movement.
In order to conduct this task, Coalition Forces are required to take certain measures to ensure that the movement out of Iraq is conducted in a safe and efficient manner.
During this time, there will be an increase in helicopter travel in and around the International Zone (IZ) of Baghdad. This increased traffic will include CH-47, UH-60 and AH-64 security escort helicopters.
Coalition forces will take appropriate measures to minimize and mitigate the disturbance to the public. In addition, we will conduct these operations during hours of darkness to help alleviate any perception that we may be bringing more coalition forces into the IZ.
As we begin implementing this next phase of operations, I want to reiterate the value of our friendship and partnership. We respect your sovereign decision to order our departure.
WILLIAM H. SEELY, III
Brigadier General, U.S. Marine Corps
Commanding General, TF-Iraq
As we have repeatedly pointed out here at the Campaign Update, one of the main reasons why Donald J. Trump was elected to the presidency in 2016 was his promise to get U.S. armed forces personnel out of the myriad interminable Middle East conflicts into which his predecessors in office had gotten our country entangled.
Trump’s basic message during the campaign was that these wars between various Islamic countries and factions have been going on for eons, and nothing the U.S. can do – no amount of treasure or lives sacrificed – will end that reality. So, let the Islamic states in the region fight it out amongst themselves, and focus U.S. military efforts in the Middle East on protecting our assets and few real allies there – Israel and Saudi Arabia, mainly.
The Iraqi parliament’s demand over the weekend, whether serious or not, plays directly into the President’s hands in this regard.
It is also key to note that this strategic gambit would not be possible were it not for the fact that the U.S. today enjoys a much higher level of energy security than it did during past presidencies, thanks mainly to the shale oil and gas revolution that has taken place here over the past decade. The U.S. is not completely energy “independent” and probably never will be, but our country today has very little compelling national interest in risking American lives and treasure to keep the oil spigots in countries like Iran and Iraq open.
So, this letter from Brig. General Seely now puts the ball squarely back in the Iraqi government’s court. President Trump has basically said, hey, if you want to become a client state of the mullahs in Iran, go for it.
It will be interesting to see how Iraqi Prime Minister Adil Abd Al-Mahdi responds.
UPDATE: Well, maybe it’s not quite goodbye after all. Here is an official Pentagon statement on the matter:
Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Mark Dilley earlier stated that the letter is real, but the version released on social media is a “draft” that should not have gotten out. Prior to that Defense Secretary Mark Esper said that the letter was not real.
Did someone just get caught in a mole hunt?
I will update this story if the official version keeps changing.
That is all. For now.
Today’s news moves at a faster pace than ever. Whatfinger.com is my go-to source for keeping up with all the latest events in real time.