[eDebate] armitage: US may be asked to leave iraq

Jake Stromboli infracaninophile
Wed Jun 21 19:20:36 CDT 2006

remember, armitage is an old school republican realist disaffected by the 
neocons who argued against the plame outing from within the administration  
and was called before the grand jury to testify against rove, cheney and 
libby.  good idea for republicans in the next election: cut and run away 
from the president and his ill-conceived war:


Iraq: US may be asked to leave
Greg Sheridan, Foreign Editor
June 21, 2006

THE level of violence in some areas of Iraq is worsening dramatically and US 
forces may soon be asked to leave by the Iraqi Government.

In an exclusive interview with The Australian, former US deputy secretary of 
state Richard Armitage has given a gloomy assessment of the situation.

"The British used to make a big deal of walking around in their berets in 
the south," he said. "Now they won't even go to the latrines without their 
helmets. The south has got much rougher, it's mainly Shia on Shia violence."

Mr Armitage said much of the violence came from differences over how the 
Islamic religion should be interpreted.

And he said he believed the Iraqis would soon ask the US to leave their 

The most optimistic scenario following a US withdrawal would be that Iraq 
would become a loose federation -- although the term federation would not be 
used because it upsets neighbouring Turkey -- with a weak central 

"The difficulty then will be to stop them (the Iraqis) causing violence for 
their neighbours," Mr Armitage said.

This was because almost all of Iraq's neighbours had restive Shia minorities 
and the governments of both Iraq and Iran would come under pressure to 
intervene on their behalf.

Mr Armitage believed the Shi'ites and Sunnis had not sated their appetite 
for violence against each other. But there were signs of the essential 
compromises necessary to make Iraq stable in the negotiations taking place 
inside the new Iraqi Government.

Mr Armitage said he hoped there could be a draw-down of US and other 
coalition troops in Iraq in the next 12 to 18 months.

Although George W. Bush had a good week, with the death of al-Qa'ida in Iraq 
leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi and progress with the Iraqi Government , Mr 
Armitage believes Iraq is still a big drag on Republicans.

He said "many Republicans are running away from the President" as they 
prepared for the forthcoming mid-term congressional elections.

Mr Armitage was equally gloomy about Afghanistan, especially in the south, 
where violence was worsening and Australia was deploying a new provincial 
reconstruction team. "It'll be heavy lifting for them," he said. "Five years 
after the overthrow of the Taliban, the ordinary people don't see much 
change in their lives."

Several factors were driving the renewed violence in Afghanistan including 
drugs which provided money for numerous warlords.

"At the same time, some in Pakistan may believe that the Taliban may come 
back. The Talibs also see us handing over to NATO and they see some NATO 
countries as weaker than us."

But Mr Armitage identified the US-Australian alliance as one of the success 
stories in Bush foreign policy. He paid the ultimate compliment to the 
Australian Prime Minister: "Howard got everything he wanted.

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