February 24, 2012 |
What is the logic behind the Obama administration's policy toward Afghanistan? On its face, it makes no sense. In 2009, President Obama ordered a major buildup of forces to counter alarming gains by the Taliban and the Haqqani network. The number of U.S. troops in Afghanistan increased from 34,000 when he took office to nearly 100,000 in 2010. To oversee the buildup he sent two top Army generals, Stanley A. McChrystal and then David H. Petraeus, to design and implement a comprehensive counterinsurgency plan that the president signed off on. In June of last year, however, Obama announced that 32,000 "surge" troops would come home by September 2012 - earlier than Petraeus and his superiors judged prudent.
April 25, 2010 |
After a follower of Shiite cleric Muqtada Sadr vowed to dispatch militia members to defend Iraqi mosques in the wake of a series of deadly bombings, a statement from Sadr that was widely distributed Saturday made it clear that the Mahdi Army would be reactivated only if the government accepted the offer. The militia's fighters, who were involved in the bloody sectarian violence of Iraq's civil war, were demobilized in 2008 after major confrontations between Prime Minister Nouri Maliki's government and the armed group.
December 7, 2009 |
Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates denied Sunday that President Obama had set an "exit strategy" for Afghanistan, and he forecast that only a "handful" of U.S. troops may leave the country in July 2011, when a withdrawal is due to begin. Gates, appearing on television news programs with other senior U.S. officials, said the Obama administration intended to maintain its commitment to Afghanistan while gradually shifting security responsibilities to the country's central government. "This is a transition," Gates said on ABC's "This Week."
May 27, 2009 |
The Pentagon is prepared to leave fighting forces in Iraq for as long as a decade despite an agreement between the United States and Iraq that would bring all American troops home by 2012, the top U.S. Army officer said Tuesday. Gen. George W. Casey Jr., the Army chief of staff, said the world remains dangerous, and the Pentagon must plan for extended U.S. combat and stability operations in two wars. "Global trends are pushing in the wrong direction," Casey said.
May 11, 2009 |
U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told Iraqi officials on a visit Sunday to Baghdad that America would need to improve its intelligence in their country after U.S. troops pull out. "If we are going to have a diminished physical military presence, we have to have a strong intelligence presence," Pelosi said after discussions with her Iraqi counterpart and other members of parliament. Pelosi, a strong critic of the U.S.
May 1, 2009 |
British troops ended six years of combat operations in Iraq on Thursday, beginning their withdrawal from the southern city of Basra after a bloody and costly mission that was deeply unpopular at home. Prime Minister Gordon Brown praised the military's accomplishments and sacrifices, speaking after meeting with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Maliki at Brown's Downing Street office.