CIA Chief Panetta to Iraq: We’ll Let You Know When You Want Our Occupation to End

By Kenneth J. Theisen 

On Thursday, June 9th Leon Panetta, the current CIA Chief and incoming Department of War Chief, told the Senate Armed Services Committee that Iraq will request that the U.S. keep its occupation force in the country beyond this year. This should come as no surprise to readers of this site. 

While the Obama administration claimed that it would withdraw its troops from Iraq this year, it never had any intention of doing so. Iraq is an occupied country and the U.S. will not give up its occupation unless forced to do so.
Panetta told the Senate. “It's clear to me that Iraq is considering the possibility of making a request for some kind of (troop) presence to remain there.” He went on to say that he had "every confidence" the request would be "forthcoming at some point." He also stated that the U.S. should agree once the request is made.
 
Panetta claimed that, "It really is dependent on the prime minister and on the government of Iraq to present to us what it is that they need, and over what period of time, in order to make sure that the gains that we've made in Iraq are sustained." But you can be sure the Iraqi puppets are facing massive pressure from their U.S. masters to make the troop request extension. Such a request is needed to provide political cover for what the U.S. already intends to do.
 
Panetta’s statements echo those made by current Department of War Chief Robert Gates. Gates has said that a U.S. troop presence is needed to keep Iran in check. In May Gates claimed that a continued U.S. military presence in Iraq would be "reassuring" to Gulf States.
 
Current Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki is urging his coalition partners in the Iraqi government to make a decision on the troop extension request by August 1st. He and other puppets of the U.S. know that they can not continue to pretend to rule without U.S. support. These puppets are sharing in the spoils of U.S. imperialism.
 
And even assuming that U.S. troops did leave (they will not), the U.S. would still maintain a massive presence in Iraq and would control the real power there. There are thousands of U.S. employees stationed in Iraq at the largest U.S. embassy in the world. Over 100,000 U.S. contractors are still present in the country. Many of these are armed mercenaries who have routinely killed Iraqi citizens. In addition, Iraq is surrounded by a massive U.S. military presence in nearby countries and seas. This includes air and naval armadas and tens of thousand of troops stationed within striking range of Iraq. 
 
Many people have been fooled by Obama’s lies about Iraq withdrawal, but the reality is that there is no withdrawal in the cards for the foreseeable future. Obama expanded the war in Afghanistan. He has continued the war in Iraq. If these two wars were not bad enough, the Obama administration has also extended U.S. imperialist wars into Pakistan, Yemen, Libya and other nations. None of this will end without the massive mobilization of resistance to these imperialist wars.