During the past few weeks, the Iraqi people have been protesting against their recently elected government. Last Friday (4/8/11), the protests took place not just in Baghdad but in other cities throughout Iraq. The protestors referred to it as the “Departure Friday”. The people were calling for the departure of American troops from Iraq. This call was influenced by the visit of American Secretary of Defense, Mr. Gates, who is pushing the Iraqi government to extend American troops’ stay in Iraq after December 2011. This date was set by President Obama in 2008 after his election.
The U.S. government is using the rationale that the Iraqi government is not yet capable of maintaining its stability and will not be in a position to protect its airspace. Furthermore, the Iraqi military still needs the U.S. forces to train them on the armament that they have purchased from the U.S. Such American rationale has been rejected by the Iraqi people. The Iraqi people have said loudly that the U.S. invasion of their country and its occupation during the past eight years has ruined the country, politically, economically and environmentally. There will be no extension for American troops to stay in Iraq and no military basis will be permitted.
Such calls came from various groups who call themselves “The Established Conference of the Iraqi People Opposing American Occupation of Iraq”. This group consists of a broad base of people, such as religious and tribal leaders, in addition to the young people of Iraq. Even Mr. Assader, a Shiaa leader, threatened to reactivate his Shia (al-Mahdi) army to declare their struggle against the American occupying forces.
It is a very puzzling situation to see that the American government is attempting to stay in Iraq beyond December 2011, when at the same time, politicians in Washington are fighting a battle in Congress to cut the budget in order to deal with the huge deficit. I have not heard a single politician from either side saying that the U.S. should pull troops from Iraq and Afghanistan to save American taxpayers money. The American Defense budget, which exceeds $740 billion, is the holy cow of the American politicians. It is a tragedy when the U.S. government borrows billions of dollars from foreign nations such as China and others to fight foreign wars. I call such acts the most dangerous policies, which mortgage the life of future American generations. This reflects the decadence of the American military and colonialist policy.
The Iraqi people will do the American public a big service by demanding the total withdrawal of all American military forces from Iraq by the end of 2011.
Furthermore, the Iraqi protestors are even demanding the resignation of the Maliki government and the dissolution of the recently elected parliament. Corruption is deep-rooted at all government levels and millions of young people are unemployed. As I have pointed out in previous posts, the infrastructure is in very bad shape. There are shortages of electrical power and clean water for drinking, continuous increases in the cost of living and number of people who are living below the poverty index level is increasing.
The protestors are also demanding the release of all political prisoners. The people of Iraq will continue their protests until the government responds to their demands.