"Regarding the changes in effect since the Security Agreement took effect, I will tell you my opinion of the status from both the ground forces perspective and the command perspective, as I see both. First of all, though, two clarificationa. Contrary to what many people (including Iraqi police and army leadership) believe, the agreement does NOT restrict us to staying on base except when conducting logistical resupply patrols or when given permission to leave by the Iraqis. Rather, it merely means we are restricted from entering urban areas unless the local leadership gives us permission. Now, we are well-liked in predominately Kurdish areas (the Kurdish quality of life and infuence has greatly increased since 2003), to the point where the people sometimes even offer to give us home-cooked meals, and the police there would actually rather have US patrolling Kirkuk City than the Iraqi Army (in fact, they would likely attack the IA on site if they tried to enter). This is not to say that Arab minorities in the city do not attack us if they are able to, as well as killing the IPs (Iraqi Police). The Arabs feel threatened by the Kurds, who are typically better educated and very slightly more prosperous. In turn, the Kurds are wary of the Arabs, as they wish to force the Kurds to migrate and keep them from having power. The Arab/ Kurd tensions are without question the largest threat to Iraqi stability, though severe corruption is a close second. Actually VEs (violent extremists) come third. Please do not interpret this as me saying that VEs are not a great threat, it is just that they would not really be able to operate without Arab-Kurdish tensions as a catalyst and corruption (I can't really go into specifics with what I mean, let's just say it goes to horrendous, despicable extents) to serve as an enabler. Second, I can only confidently report on this region, which is Kurdish and generally pro-American. Unless otherwise stated, my comments are restricted to this province. Also, bear in mind that almost everything I say is my opinion, though I try to keep them deeply rooted in facts.
For the common Joe, the biggest changes are that we . In addition, route clearance patrols (IED hunting, what I used to do) now have to drive around certain towns. In truth, at this level the job has not changed that much, but I can only confidently refer to this region (Kirkuk Province). Mosul and Baghdad are very different, and the reluctance of the ISF (Iraqi Security Forces, which includes both IPs and ISF) to do patrols there is pretty pathetic, though they likely fear for their lives. When we go into cities, we now strap large signs (printed in Arabic and English) on our vehicles stating that we are patrolling with governmental authorization and in accordance with the security agreement. Of course, these probably do not help much with the illiterate members of the polulation, who are not likely to properly understand the security agreement anyway. There has been some increase in CF combat units training the IA, however.
From a command perspective, the politic game is more important than ever. We have to coordinate with them entering any urban areas. The Iraqi's really cannot cut it by themselves yet with regard to security, though the politicians have to tell their constituents that they can. In truth, most of them know that they need us. The IA are happy to have us train their men, because (let's face it) they are getting FREE classes from the best, most sophisticated, most tactical, most experienced military in human history, learning about combat tactics, route clearance, first aid, and many other things. They cannot lose. Also, they get equipment from us, not to mention we build their bases. The IPs are in a similar situation, and greatly benefit from the gains in investigative, evidential, and interrogational techniques they learn from us and our civilian law enforcement contractors. Having said this, a small percentage of IA and IP leadership is utterly anti CF (Coalition Forces), and therefore ban us from their installations, preventing extremely valuable training. That is not such problem here in the Kurdistan region, however."
En något mer nyanserad och problematiserande analys av situationen i Irak än det naiva perspektiv Cindy Sheehan representerar.
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Cindy Sheehan i Sverige 20091008