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Why the US forces need to stay in Iraq

Perhaps one of the most important happenings which changed the worldview of grooming international terrorism was the series of attacks on the US by Islamic extremists. The event is globally recalled as just 9/11 referring to the date, it happened. Nearly three thousand people lost their lives with many missing. The attack changed the perception of terrorist violence, the world over. After attacking Afghanistan and establishing a democratic government there, the US turned to Iraq in 2003, toppled Saddam Hussein and established a new democratic government there.

However the withdrawal of American troops from Iraq since then, has become controversial. Democrats and Republicans are split on the issue, taking into account the mounting fatalities and costs. The capture and change of guard in Iraq has stirred a beehive which is far from getting settled, leaving little options now. We need to learn from our past experiences. Our consistent foreign policy during the cold war of making any country opposing communism, irrespective of its government, an ally; was eventually a success. Most Iraqi’s belong to the Shia group, but were ruled by Saddam, hailing from the minority Sunni group.

The serious divisions between Shia’s and Sunnis’ had the Shia’s oppressed for decades. The country has also had historic tensions between the Kurds, Arabs, religious leaders and tribal chiefs. With Sunnis no longer in control, Shiite Iran is now in a better position to extend its influences westwards. If Iran gets control on Iraq, they can dominate most of the world’s oil supply (David Thornton, 2008). The regime of Iranian Ahmadinejad can then wreck the economies of the western countries, by shutting off the oil flow.

In case, the US decides to stop its losses and pull out prematurely, the jihadists or terrorists would become emboldened to take the battle to the US and its allies (Lee Kaun Yew, 2007). US withdrawal would be interpreted by the jihadists as having forced the US to leave, and would add this to their credit of having defeated and chased away the Russians in Afghanistan. This would encourage them to believe that they have the power to change the world. The talk of a beaten and retreating US army would serve as an ideal recruitment tool for the fundamentalists.

Islamic countries have historically seen little or no democracy. The US army despite the casualties and costs, are successful in ensuring the functioning of a democratic government in Iraq. The success of democracy in Iraq would encourage development of democratic governments in other Islamic countries. In the absence of US forces, there are huge chances for a civil unrest and collapse of democracy. Another dictator or a fundamentalist regime in Iraq, with control on oil reserves could mean an end of road for Iraq and also upset global economy.

This apart, a civil war in Iraq, can even destabilize even the entire Middle East, as it could bring Egypt, Iran, Lebanon, Jordon, Saudi Arabia, Syria and Turkey into the conflict. The need for the US to stay in Iraq until the political situation gets stabilized, is evident form the opinion of the former President Bill Clinton, who at a fund raiser for the Florida Democratic Party at Orlando said, “The representative government in Iraq is a hopeful sign. But we need to stay there long enough for the politics to get worked out. If we withdrew tomorrow, that government couldn’t survive.

” (NewsMax, 2006). The effects of US withdrawal are more explicit from the observations of the Republican Presidential candidate, McCain, “If we do that then al-Qa’eda wins, we have chaos and genocide throughout the region and they will follow us home. That’s been my position – forever”. The need for US to hold onto Iraq has also been gaining support in recent times (Alex Spillius, 2008). A pew Research Center Poll has found that 53% of Americans now believe that the US would ultimately succeed in Iraq, which is up from 42%, six months back.

US withdrawal in Iraq would have huge repercussions on most other US foreign policies. South Korea would suspect US ability over North Korea; Saudi Arabia would have reason to fear Iran’s overtures in the Arabian Peninsula; Taiwan and Japan looking to the US for protection from China, would be concerned; while Caribbean and South American countries would wonder American stand against Hugo Chavez. Recent reports indicate that the violence in Iraq is becoming comparatively lesser and is probably at the lowest level, in many years.

The Al Anbar province which was once a stronghold of the terrorists is now a model province for the rest of Iraq. The terrorists are fleeing the city towards the suburbs. The positive results of US presence is already evident and it’s only a matter of time for the hard work, to bear fruits.


Lee Kaun Yew, (2007) The United States, Iraq, and the war on terror. [Electronic Version] downloaded on 23rd April 2008 from http://www. foreignaffairs. org/20070101facomment86101/lee-kuan-yew/the-united-states-iraq-and-the-war-on-terror. html NewsMax (2006) Bill Clinton: US Should not pull out of Iraq, [Electronic Version] downloaded on 23rd April 2008 from http://archive. newsmax. com/archives/ic/2006/6/13/104731. shtml Alex Spillius (2008). John McCain: Early US pull-out from Iraq will cause ‘genocide’ [Electronic Version] downloaded on 23rd April 2008 from http://www. telegraph. co. uk/news/main. jhtml? David Thornton (2008) Should the US pull out its troops regardless of whether Iraq is ready to defend its people? [Electronic Version] downloaded on 23rd April 2008 from http://www. helium. com/debates/65910/side_by_side

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