War on Iraq

British Iraq "Withdrawal" a Microcosm of Obama's Bad Iraq Policy

Britain ends 'combat operations' in Iraq, but, taking a cue from the U.S., London is escalating its neoliberal economic efforts and military training.

The British “withdrawal” from Basra, Iraq is, in a way, a microcosm of Obama’s overall Iraq approach of downsizing and rebranding the occupation. While the British are framing this as an end to “combat operations,” they are simultaneously launching a smaller-scale military training effort and escalating neoliberal economic initiatives.
“Today Iraq is a success story,” Prime Minister Gordon Brown said. “We owe much of that to the efforts of British troops. Our mission has not always been an easy one, many have said that we would fail. Britain can be proud of our legacy that we leave there.” Brown’s line is similar to the cosigning of Bush’s Iraq lies by Obama earlier this year at Camp Lejeune. Iraq is not a success story, nor is it an operation to be proud of. Anyone who calls the deaths of a million people a success is sick. Moreover, violence in Iraq is escalating right now and the humanitarian situation is absolutely dire.
Iraq’s Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki, meanwhile, is in London where has been meeting with UK officials and corporations. As The Guardian reports, “Maliki and the oil minister, Hussain al-Shahristani, will use the visit to try to cash in on the country’s improved security situation when they meet representatives of about 250 companies – including Shell and Rolls-Royce – to discuss opportunities for trade and investment.”

Jeremy Scahill is the author of Blackwater: The Rise of the World's Most Powerful Mercenary Army.
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