The AP has a story today that Yahoo headlines Iraq Concerned US May Leave Too Soon. What the story is really about is the Iraqi Foreign Minister, Kurdish former guerilla leader Hoshyar Zebari. It's Zebari who says, on behalf of the recently elected provisional Iraqi government, that he is afraid that the US may leave too soon, before the Iraqi government is able to defend itself.
This profession of fear seems a bit strange on its face, given two stories I happened to read in the past few weeks. One was a recent, fairly well-publicized statement by Dick Cheney that the U.S. presence in Iraq will be over by 2009, not exactly portending a hasty withdrawal.
The other story it called to mind for me was an early May report from Knight Ridder called Amidst Doubts, CIA Hangs on to Control of Iraqi Intelligence Service.
The Cheney article is pretty stupid; you don't have to read that one, and if you did already I apologize. But the KR article actually contains some interesting information. The most striking thing about the article is the idea, which I must admit had not occurred to me, of using the completely predictable (readers of the old blog will recall that I did, in fact, predict it in 2003) closeness of the new Iraqi government to Tehran as a pretext for maintaining control over the "Iraqi Intelligence Service," which of course is an Orwellian term for the secret police.
In other words, the U.S. invaded Iraq, installed a government that could never have wound up as anything but a Shi'ite-dominated theocracy aligned with Tehran, and is now using the Tehran issue as an excuse to maintain control. Quite fascinating.
But how does this tie in to this professed fear of the Iraqi Foreign Minister that the US might leave too soon? There appear to be no substantive reasons for believing that this might be the case. So what is the point of expressing this opinion? More analysis to come, once I decide what I think about all this.