"Flexibility Key to U.S. Withdrawal from Iraqi Cities"

Flexibility key to U.S. withdrawal from Iraqi cities

The Washington Examiner, June 22, 2009, Opinion Section

by Kimberly Kagan, Examiner National Security Columnist



Amazing events are occurring in Iraq. For the first time since the start of the war, American forces are withdrawing from Iraq’s cities, reducing their numbers and turning responsibility for security over to Iraqi forces. It is not the first time the United States has tried to hand off security to the Iraqis. At the end of 2006, as violence was exploding throughout Iraq, American forces were actually handing over bases in Baghdad and preparing to withdraw. As we drew down, violence went up. The situation deteriorated so badly that the United States had to fight its way back into Baghdad in 2007 during the “surge,” retaking areas from which we had pulled back a few months before. Today, despite occasional flare-ups of violence, the situation is completely different. American combat forces will have withdrawn from Iraq’s cities almost entirely by the end of this month. In 2006, it seemed as though increasing violence was driving America out of Iraq. Now it appears our success is allowing us to leave.

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