Gates: US Will not Pledge to Defend Iraq

Prince Andrew thinks Bush is weak in the area of British Empire history, and that the stubborn disregard of British experiences and advice is part of the reason for the debacle.

The Status of Forces Agreement envisioned by Secretary of Defense Robert Gates will not contain any provision that the US will come to Iraq’s aid if it is attacked. Such a commitment would have required approval of the Senate. Note that US presidents have designated 14 non-NATO allies, who have special access to US weaponry. The US has not committed to defend any of them against aggression, unlike the case with NATO itself.

The Iraqi parliament’s approval of the new budget has been delayed over how much to allot to the Kurds.

About 100 guerrillas of “al-Qaeda in Iraq” have established themselves in other countries, as Iraq has become too difficult for them.

The Iraqi government is finally repairing the Askariyah Shrine (golden dome) of Samarra, a Shiite holy site that Sunni Arabs have bombed twice. The February, 2006, bombing set off an orgy of sectarian violence that lasted a year and a half.

The US military is exhausted from frequent and long deployments to Iraq, with no end in sight. The shell game of removing the extra troops sent in for the escalation in 2007 (the “surge”) and allowing urban guerrillas to substitute themselves for them will not actually alleve anything.

Reuters reports political violence in Iraq for Wednesday:

‘ MUQDADIYA – Five headless bodies were found in a village near the town of Muqdadiya, 90 km (55 miles) northeast of Baghdad, the Iraqi army said.

BAQUBA – Three headless bodies were found near the city of Baquba, 65 km (45 miles) north of Baghdad, the Iraqi army said. . .

BAQUBA – Three women and one man were wounded when a roadside bomb exploded near their vehicle near Baquba, police said. . .

MOSUL – Two policemen were killed and three others, including a civilian, were wounded in a drive-by shooting in Mosul, police said. . .

SAMARRA – Gunmen killed two Iraqi soldiers in an attack on an Iraqi army checkpoint in the city of Samarra, 100 km (60 miles) north of Baghdad, police said. One civilian was wounded by random fire which broke out after the attack. . .

SAMARRA – Gunmen killed Issam Hassani, a member of the Association of Muslim Scholars, a hardline group of Sunni clerics, in his shop in Samarra on Tuesday, police said.

BAGHDAD – Three people were wounded by a roadside bomb near al-Andalus Square in central Baghdad, police said.

BAGHDAD – The bodies of four people were found in different districts of Baghdad on Tuesday, police said. . .

NAJAF – Police said they found the bodies of a 16-year-old girl and young man in the city of Najaf, 160 km (110 miles) south of Baghdad. The girl had been stabbed and the man had suffered severe head injuries.

DIWANIYA – Four people were killed and nine others wounded, including seven policemen, when a roadside bomb exploded near a bus carrying detainees in the city of Diwaniya, 180 km (110 miles) south of Baghdad, police and hospital sources said.

HILLA – The body of a man who had been shot in the head was found near the city of Hilla, 100 km (60 miles) south of Baghdad, police said.

TUZ KHURMATO – A woman was killed and two men wounded when a roadside bomb exploded near a minibus on Tuesday in the town of Tuz Khurmato, 180 km (110 miles) north of Baghdad, police said.’

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