View Full Version : Abizaid Warns Against Iraq Cutoff

11-15-2006, 11:08 PM
15 November Washington Post - U.S. Commander Warns Against Iraq Cutoff (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/11/15/AR2006111500800.html) by William Branigin.

The commander of U.S. forces in the Middle East today cautioned against beginning a phased withdrawal of troops from Iraq and recommended that current troop levels be maintained, but he said that all options remain open, including a "temporary" increase to help the Iraqi army become more effective.

Army Gen. John P. Abizaid, who heads the U.S. Central Command, told a Senate panel that U.S. commanders on the ground and the government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki both oppose the idea of significantly boosting U.S. forces in Iraq to help deal with intensifying sectarian violence. The U.S. commanders view such an option as contradicting their efforts to place more responsibility on Iraqi forces, and Maliki has told him it would undermine the government's authority, Abizaid said.

Nevertheless, the general held out the prospect that the U.S. troop levels may need to go up in order to bolster the U.S. "military transition teams" that are "embedded" with Iraqi forces.

Abizaid and the top State Department coordinator for Iraq, David M. Satterfield, also warned the Senate Armed Services Committee that any move to partition Iraq along sectarian lines would lead to a bloodbath and likely result in a safe haven for the al-Qaeda terrorist network in an area controlled by Iraq's Sunni Muslim minority...

11-18-2006, 07:01 AM
18 November New York Times - A Shifting Enemy: U.S. Generals Say Civil War, Not Insurgency, Is Greatest Threat (http://www.nytimes.com/2006/11/18/world/middleeast/18military.html?ref=world) by Mark Mazzetti.

In the fall of 2005, the generals running the Iraq war told the Senate Armed Services Committee that a gradual withdrawal of American troops from Iraq was imperative.

The American troop presence, Gen. John P. Abizaid and Gen. George W. Casey Jr. said at the time, was stoking the insurgency, fostering dependency among the Iraqi security forces and proving counterproductive for what General Abizaid has called “The Long War” against Islamic radicalism.

This week, General Abizaid, chief of the United States Central Command, told the same committee that American forces may be all that is preventing full-scale civil war in Iraq, so a phased troop withdrawal would be a mistake. What has changed, military experts and intelligence officials say, is that the insurgency of Baathists and foreign jihadists is no longer the greatest enemy the United States faces in Iraq. The biggest danger now, they say, is that violence between Shiites and Sunnis could destroy Iraq’s government and spill across the Middle East.

General Abizaid and other American commanders may continue to worry about the long-term consequences of keeping an American occupation force of more than 100,000 troops in an Arab country indefinitely.

But in his testimony to Congress on Wednesday, General Abizaid made it clear that he thought he had no option but to focus on the most immediate threat, the sectarian violence threatening to split Iraq apart.

The Pentagon, which long ago discarded the idea that it would be American troops that would defeat the Iraqi insurgency, has made the training of Iraqi security forces its primary mission in Iraq. But Iraqi forces are still far from capable of quashing sectarian violence, and that is the principal reason that American commanders say they believe that a substantial American troop presence is still needed...

11-18-2006, 11:56 PM
I listened to a replay of about an hour of the testimony on C-SPAN radio today.

It sounds (and I stress sounds) that the language has softened a considerable amount. No one came right out and said, "We are losing," but a lot of the Rumsfield-driven rhetoric was absent.

It may be a positive step in the right direction, with a sorely needed addition to the advisor end strength. Let's just hope that new teams aren't heavy-barrelled through a crappy training regimen. If so, there is very little point to getting the extra manpower spun-up and deployed.

11-19-2006, 12:40 AM
I've noticed the change in "company language" recently myself. I also take it with a sigh of relief.

11-19-2006, 10:21 PM
Senate Armed Services Committee Testimony of General John Abizaid (http://armed-services.senate.gov/statemnt/2006/November/Abizaid%2010-15-06.pdf) - 15 November 2006.

Ambassador David Satterfield, Senior Advisor on Iraq to the Secretary of State Remarks Before the Senate Armed Services Committee (http://armed-services.senate.gov/statemnt/2006/November/Satterfield%2010-15-06.pdf) - 15 November 2006.