10,000 US troops in Iraq after December 31, 2011?

The White House is offering this according to AP.


Is it a good or bad idea, and why?


Kristian Coates Ulrichsen, Research Fellow, Centre for the Study of Global Governance, London School of Economics and Political Science

In general it is not a good idea. Iraq is a sovereign nation and needs to move on from the catastrophic era of occupation and foreign tutelage. Unless the troops are specifically requested by a clear Iraqi mandate, which is extremely unlikely, any move to retain US troops runs the risk of appearing a provocative intrusion into Iraqi affairs. The upsurge in US military fatalities in the past month is evidence that the US military presence is unpopular, and I would expect such attacks to continue and even increase should they try to stay, without a popular mandate.

Daniel Korski, Senior Policy Fellow, European Council on Foreign Relations

The US is in a process of withdrawal from Iraq and to all purposes have already ceased having the kind of presence and military impact they had even just a year ago. Going down to 10.000 will limit the US options severely, but that seems in keeping with President Obama’s aim, as well as that of the Iraqi authorities.

Eric Herring, Senior Lecturer in International Politics, University of Bristol

It would be a bad idea to keep US troops in Iraq. They will have only limited impact on improving the abilities of Iraqi forces. Their motives for staying will be regarded with suspicion by many within and beyond Iraq. The US could save money and use that as part of addressing its budget deficit. More US troops will die and there are likely to be more insurgent and terrorist attacks on Iraqi government targets in a renewed attempt to drive out the last of the US forces and punish the Iraqi government for asking US forces to stay on should it do that. An attempt by the Iraqi government to ask US forces to stay will probably result in its collapse due to the withdrawal by the Sadrists. Most Iraqis (especially Arabs and especially Shia but not only them) have been saying in opinion polls for some years that they want US troops to leave and that they expected security to improve.

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