Washington has announced the completion of the combat mission of its armed forces in Iraq. This is how the withdrawal of the supposedly last combat brigade of US troops from Iraq to Kuwait was presented to the world public. An official spokesman for the 4th Stryker Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division, said that the last armored vehicles had crossed the border between Iraq and Kuwait early Thursday.
Obama said in a written statement that he was hoping that all Americans would thank the troops for their service in Iraq. Do those words really mean that the USA has ended the war in Iraq?
Operation "Shock and Awe", which marked the beginning of the US-led invasion in Iraq seven years ago, has only resulted in the collapse of Saddam Hussein's regime. The United States has not been able to build democracy in the war-torn country. Figuratively speaking, there is no more shock in Iraq, but both the population and the military men are still gripped with awe.
No one can feel safe in Iraq today. The number of terrorist attacks in the country has been growing steadily. One can easily understand the joy of 4,000 soldiers of the 4th Stryker Brigade, who were finally allowed to leave the country where they were not welcome. They have the luxury of staying alive, although 4,200 US military men will never return to their homes. About 30,000 American soldiers returned to the homeland as physically disabled individuals.
When delivering a speech to the disabled veterans of the Iraqi war, Obama praised the US army. He said that the human losses in the country helped the Iraqis build their political system and defeat al-Qaeda. He also said that terrorists were still trying to minimize the progress, which the Iraqis and the US troops had achieved.
Over 50,000 American military men are still staying in Iraq. From now on, they will be referred to as military advisors, although it does not change anything. At least two US combat brigades have been slightly reorganized and rebranded as "advise and assist" brigades. They will continue to maintain the operations conducted by Iraqi military men. To put it in a nutshell, the US servicemen will still take part in combat actions, if necessary. Judging upon the remarks from Iraqi generals, it will be necessary for long.
Lt Gen Babaker Zebari has recently stated that Iraqi military men would not be able to control the situation in the country for at least ten years. Top US defense officials also believe that terrorists will only become more active in Iraq after the US troops leave the country.
Over 100 people have been killed across Iraq since the beginning of August. July has become the bloodiest month in the country during the recent 2.5 years: 535 people were killed and thousands were injured as a result of explosions and armed attacks.
Experts believe that terrorists conduct their subversive activities against the background of the political vacuum, which appeared in the country after the parliamentary elections in March of this year had been left in the air. The political movements representing the interests of Sunnis, Shiites and Kurds still argue about the candidacy for the position of Iraq's next prime minister.
Therefore, the demonstrative withdrawal of one American combat brigade to Kuwait looks like a propaganda action organized by the White House on the threshold of the elections to the Congress. NBC News, for example said with reference to State Department spokesman PJ Crowley that the withdrawal of combat troops was a historical event, although it did not mean that the USA's mission in Iraq was over.
Of course, Crowley does not know how many caskets will be delivered to the United States from Iraq before the end of 2011. Mr. Crowley apparently prefers to dwell upon the establishment of phantom democracy in Iraq, rather than human losses.