Just to be clear, colonelcassad is a highly biased source. I use his information because of the volume, frequency, and interest area that he covers, as well as the fact that he's free. But he certainly has a very particular viewpoint, and one that is highly unfavorable/unfriendly to the US in particular. I was hoping that this wasn't going to merely be a thread for my updates, but for a discussion, with contributions by many others. I more then welcome alternative viewpoints and additional information.Thanks for your reply and perspective. This is a thread started for sharing updates by you but so far, some of the sources you cite, seem to lack balance. If you are going to post about this topic of a US troop withdrawal request, at least consider providing some background for context:
I would not dispute any of this, but to be honest, I assumed a certain amount of pre-knowledge going into this, especially given that we've had multiple on-going threads regarding the conflicts across the Middle East, including the war with ISIS. The summary is certainly helpful vis-a-vis context.(i) The last American combat troops left Iraq in December 2011, only to return in 2014 under much more perilous circumstances.
(ii) With Baghdad in danger of falling to the ISIS militants in June 2014, the administration of then-president Barack Obama agreed to send troops to Iraq to assist in an advisory capacity against IS. The deployment was based on diplomatic letters inviting American soldiers into the country and offering them immunity from prosecution under Iraqi law. These so-called diplomatic notes, which are not public, remain the legal basis for the presence of about 5,000 American soldiers in Iraq. These letters or diplomatic notes contain a provision that gives US forces one year to withdraw after they are formally asked by Baghdad to leave.
(iii) A official push by Baghdad to expel US troops may be a protracted process given the state of politics in the country, said Douglas Silliman, a former US ambassador to Iraq who is now the president of the Arab Gulf States Institute. "Iraq's own inability to implement its laws in a timely manner and a clear manner is probably going to push this conversation through 2020, likely into 2021 unless there is a significant development, such as the legitimate selection of a very anti-American prime minister with a parliamentary majority that can back him on this," Silliman said. Moreover, the Iraqi centres of power remain fragmented, with Kurdish and Sunni political parties largely wary of the push to drive out American forces and the government facing an ongoing wave of anti-corruption protests.
There's a few more points, including the fact that the US has killed Iraqi government officials, and members of Iraqi government-sanctioned militias, not just in the recent strike against Soleimani. There's also the fact that rockets have been falling near US facilities around Iraq, though so far in small numbers and with poor accuracy (or perhaps good accuracy not intending to kill?). Now we have a giant mobilization of public opinion against the US, who is already far from beloved in the region, with Iran behind the push. America and Iraq are not enemies, yet, and America is not an occupying force in Iraq (nor could it ever effectively be with numbers this small). But the trajectory is deeply troubling. What happens if the US decides to bomb another pro-Iranian Iraqi militia, or allow Israel to do so? What happens if Iraq buys Russian S-300 or S-400, something they have mentioned as a possibility, as a political statement as much as a military capability? Sanction them? That would produce the estrangement that the article you link fears. Not sanction them? After sanctioning Turkey, a NATO member, for the same? The situation is deeply problematic at best, and I don't see a happy solution here. I think that "We are talking about allies that have differences, and they want to work out these differences in the best way, so they keep their alliance." is a statement of hope rather then fact. I think that the above-mentioned is a possible outcome of this situation, but I'm not sure it's the most likely one.(iv) "We're not at a point where the US and Iraq are enemies," said Abbas Kadhim, director of the Iraq Initiative at the Atlantic Center think-tank in Washington. "We are talking about allies that have differences, and they want to work out these differences in the best way, so they keep their alliance." Hence, the Iraqi government has not formally requested an American military pullout in a legally binding way, Kadhim added. "They asked for negotiators to talk about the terms of withdrawal, which is understood or implied that the Iraqis want the US troops out, but they want to do it amicably."
See: At what point do US troops in Iraq become an occupation force?